China's polar icebreaker heading home from Arctic expedition

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BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Xuelong 2, China's first domestically-built polar icebreaker, is heading back to the homeport in Shanghai after crew members obtained a record-breaking sediment core sample in the Arctic Ocean, the Ministry of Natural Resources said Thursday.

The ship that set off on July 15 for China's 11th Arctic scientific expedition embarked on its return journey on Sept. 11.

The expedition team obtained an ocean sediment core with a length of 18.65 meters at a depth of 1,870 meters in the Northwind Basin of the Arctic Ocean on Sept. 8.

Liu Yanguang, the assistant to the chief scientist of the expedition team, said it was the first time that Chinese researchers used a long cylindrical gravity piston of more than 20 meters for sampling in the Arctic Ocean.

Advanced scientific research equipment onboard and superior maneuverability of the ship were key to the success of the four-hour-long sampling, Liu said. After further analysis, the sample is expected to provide scientific support for in-depth studies of the Arctic.

It is the first scientific expedition to the Arctic for Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2, after the ship completed its first Antarctica expedition in April. The ship is expected to arrive in Shanghai in late September. Enditem

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