Chinese icebreaker Xuelong
Scientists on the icebreaker Xuelong have for the first time obtained seabed topographic data of Antarctic waters after a full exploration, the Polar Research Institute of China said on Tuesday.
They have also acquired important data on oceanic gravity and magnetic forces during an ongoing expedition, China's 34th national scientific expedition to the Antarctic, which started on Nov 8 and is scheduled to be back in Shanghai in mid-April.
The data was obtained from recent geophysical surveys spanning nearly 3,000 square kilometers carried out in the Ross Sea's Terra Nova Bay near a planned research base, on which construction will begin soon and may be finished in 2022.
"Such data made us clear about the terrain features of the sea area where we will build the new station," Yang Huigen, chief scientist of the expedition, told Xinhua News Agency.
"It laid a foundation for future construction of a marine laboratory at the new station and the construction of the seabed observation network at the Antarctic region, and also enhanced our country's strength in stereoscopic observation of oceans around Antarctica," he said.
The data was obtained via inch-by-inch searches by a newly equipped precision device for surveying seafloor topography in areas with pack ice, Yang said.
So far, there are already research stations of several countries, including the United States, New Zealand, Germany, Italy and South Korea in the Ross Sea, one of the frontier areas for the research of climate change in the Antarctic region, Yang said.
The new station will be China's fifth Antarctic station, the third year-round one after Changcheng Station and Zhongshan Station, and the first to be situated on the boundary of the Pacific Ocean.
China has two seasonal inland stations, Kunlun and Taishan, in Antarctica.