A 17-member Chinese Antarctic expedition team set off on
Saturday for Dome A, the highest polar icecap peak at an elevation
of 4,093 meters.
This is the 24th Antarctic expedition conducted by Chinese
scientists and their second attempt to survey the peak of Dome A
after they made the first ever successful ascent by mankind on Jan.
Seventeen members of
Chinese Antarctic exploration team pose for group photos in
Antarctic on Dec. 22, 2007, before leaving for inner Antarctic.
Their destination is the peak of the Antarctic icecap which is at
an altitude of 4,093 meters. [Xinhua]
Dome A, located in 80 degrees 22 minutes south latitude, 77
degrees 22 minutes east longitude, is the highest area of the
Antarctica inland icecap, and is generally recognized as the
vantage point for scientific research in Antarctica.
The 17 Chinese scientists, chosen through nationwide
competition, will travel 1,300 kilometers into the inland icecap
during their 70-day expedition. They will be climbing the peak of
Dome A from the edge which is over 200 meters above the sea level
and conduct a series of scientific surveys to pave the way for
setting up the third Chinese scientific research station in
They will carry out eight field surveys, including the
comprehensive expedition on glaciology, geophysics, astronomy,
topography and meteorology.
The scientists will also conduct surveys on drilling position of
the deep ice core at Dome-A and choosing the location for an
observation station in the inland region of Antarctica.
It is also the first time for the Chinese expedition team to
conduct a series of new researches, including choosing the locus of
the astronomical observatory at Dome-A, installing wireless sensor
network at Dome-A, conducting earthquake observation in the inland
icecap, drafting a topographic chart with the scale of 1:50000 and
carrying out physiological and psychological researches on
expedition team members.
Meanwhile, the Chinese expedition will implement the core of
China's action plan for the International Polar Year, PANDA.
China has so far built two research stations in Antarctica. The
Great-Wall Station, founded in February 1985, is located south of
King George Island, and Zhongshan Station, built in February
1989,is located south of Prydz Bay on the Mirror Peninsula, eastern
of Larsemann Hills.
The mountain range Gamburtsev blanketed by the Dome A Icecap has
been considered the most likely place to find new mechanism of
orogeny and to give birth to new theory on the continental
Its unique dome is believed the most ideal place for the
research on the formation and evolution of Antarctic icecaps and
the best place to get the oldest ice core.
Furthermore, the Dome A Icecap is theoretically the best place
in Antarctica for setting up an observatory. It will be of great
significance for the research on the global climate change to
conduct long-term scientific observation in the Dome A Icecap.
Over the past 12 years, China has carried out five scientific
expeditions in the hinterland of Antarctica.
In 1996, Qin Weijia, who led a seven-member scientific
expedition team, advanced 300 km into the inland icecap for the
first time and successfully conducted a series of scientific
On Jan. 18, 2005, a 12-member Chinese expedition team headed by
Li Yuansheng reached the Dome-A via icy land, the first ever in
(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2007)