China's 40th Antarctic expedition inland team sets off for scientific research
Published: Dec 18, 2023 12:50 AM
Photo: Sina Weibo

Photo: Sina Weibo

China's 40th Antarctic expedition inland team composing of 29 members set off for different regions to conduct scientific research, media reported on Sunday. 

According to the Xinhua News Agency, 20 team members will pass through Taishan Station and reach Kunlun Station, located at the highest point of the Antarctic ice sheet with an altitude of 4,087 meters, to conduct scientific research in glaciology, astronomy, geology, and geophysics. A departure ceremony was held at Zhongshan Station on Saturday. 

The other nine team members will go to the Grove Mountains, where the average altitude exceeds 2,000 meters, to conduct geological surveys, ice core drilling, and meteorite searches. 

According to China Central Television (CCTV) News, scientific research is a major task of the 40th Antarctic expedition. The reception of supplies for this expedition was completed in the Zhongshan Station in Antarctica on Saturday, marking the first large-scale operation of the expedition. 

The unloading began on December 1, and the expedition team overcame unfavorable factors such as cracking and melting of sea ice, disappearance of ice surfaces for operations, as well as adverse weather conditions including snowfall, strong winds, and heavy fog. A total of over 1550 tons of expedition supplies were unloaded. 

According to the CCTV report on Sunday, all members of the 40th Antarctic expedition of the Zhongshan Station are now in place, and the investigation has started in an orderly manner. 

In addition to scientific research, constructing the new station is also a major task of this expedition, and China has initiated the main construction of its fifth scientific research station in Antarctica along coastal areas of Ross Sea, according to media reports on Sunday. 

The hoisting of the first and tallest steel column in the main building of the new Antarctic station was completed on Saturday, marking the commencement of the base's main construction, CCTV reported. 

The tallest steel column is 16.5 meters, which is the longest single lifting component in the history of China's Antarctic station construction, and six of the columns are integral components of the core structure of the main building, according to a member from the scientific research team. 

The new station is located on the Inexpressible Island in the Ross Sea area of Antarctica, which will be China's first research station dedicated to the Pacific sector and is planned to be finished by February 2024. It is expected to accommodate 80 researchers to carry out multi-layered and interdisciplinary observations and scientific research on atmospheric environment, marine basic environment, and biological ecology.