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Jiaolong brings up seamount sample

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-01 07:12

Crew members of China's manned submersible Jiaolong (from left) Tang Jialing, Zhang Yi and Shi Xuefa wave to colleagues aboard the ship Xiangyanghong 09 after conducting a dive on Saturday during which a rock was brought up that could help explain the seamounts in the South China Sea. LIU SHIPING/XINHUA

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, China's manned submersible, returns after conducting its dive mission in the South China Sea, April 29, 2017. Jiaolong conducted its third dive Saturday in the South China Sea during the second stage of China's 38th ocean scientific expedition. Spending nine hours and thirty-five minutes in water, the maximum depth of the Jiaolong's work this time was 2,930 meters below sea level. [Photo/Xinhua]

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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