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Jiaolong brings up seamount sample

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-01 08:17

Submersible's recovery could detail origins of South China Sea formations, scientists say

ABOARD THE XIANGYANGHONG 09 - Jiaolong, China's manned submersible on Saturday retrieved a basalt sample from the Zhenbei Seamount in the South China Sea which scientists say could shed light on the formation and evolution of seamounts in the area.

Jiaolong stayed underwater for 9.5 hours in its third dive in the second stage of China's 38th ocean scientific expedition, which will last until May 13.

The maximum depth of the dive was 2,930 meters beneath the sea's surface.

Aside from the 5 kilogram basalt sample, it also brought back samples of sediments and seawater near the seabed as well as biological samples. High-definition photos and video footage also were recorded.

"It is not easy (to acquire such a basalt sample). This valuable 'rock' will lay the foundation for our study of the formation and evolution of seamounts in the South China Sea during the Cenozoic period," said Shi Xuefa, a researcher with the State Oceanic Administration.

"It is very important for the study of the region's structural evolution," Shi said.

Jiaolong already had completed two dives in the South China Sea, on Wednesday and Thursday. A fourth dive was planned for Sunday.

The 38th oceanic scientific expedition started on Feb. 6. Jiaolong completed a dive in the northwestern Indian Ocean earlier this year in the mission's first stage. It also will conduct surveys in the Yap Trench and the Marianas Trench in the third stage.

Named after a mythical dragon, Jiaolong reached its deepest depth, 7,062 meters, in the Marianas Trench in June 2012.


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