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Joint Scientific Expedition Heads for Himalayas
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A research team of scientists from China and three other Asian countries left Lhasa Sunday for a month-long expedition in the Himalayas.


There are 12 Chinese and seven foreign scientists from India, Nepal and Bhutan in the team. The Himalayas extend through all four countries.


The researchers will compare the physical geography, physiognomy, geology, ecosystem and economic development of the southern and northern slopes of the Himalayas, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), organizer of the expedition.


One of the team's major tasks is to determine how the resources of the Himalayas region can be better used, so as to support the sustainable development of adjacent Asian countries, said Zhang Wenjing, chief scientist of the expedition team.


The expedition team will work on the northern side of the Himalayas, inside Chinese territory, for one week, according to the team's schedule.


Then the scientists will leave Chinese territory via Zham in Tibet and begin research on the southern side of the Himalayas, said Zhang, a researcher with the Chengdu Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment under the CAS.


"This is the first time that Chinese scientists will conduct scientific research on the southern side of the mountains," Zhang said.


The Himalayas, the world's highest and youngest mountain belt, extend about 2,400 kilometers from east to west. China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau borders the Himalayas to the north, while India, Nepal and Bhutan lie to the south.


(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2006)

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