Oceanic trip makes discoveries

May 28, 2010 | Posted by Chris

Picture from the People's Daily Online of the Dayang Yihao, China's oceanic vessel that launched in 1995.

A Chinese research ship that had been exploring the world's oceans for mineral resources this morning berthed at Qingdao port in Shandong Province, according to Xinhua News. The mission -- which took place over 315 days, covered 53,300 nautical miles, and involved 216 scientists -- discovered 5 new hot liquid sulfides areas on the bottoms of the oceans. More commonly known as "black chimneys," the hot liquid sulfides areas were found in the Atlantic Ocean (2), Pacific Ocean (2), and one in the Indian Ocean. The black chimneys are significant because they provide clues for the study of the origins of life, said Tao Chunhui, China's chief scientist for maritime exploration. In addition to identifying the black chimneys, the research team also dispatched a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to collect samples from each site at depths of 2 miles or greater. It is also worth noting that China actively seeks natural resources to support its rapid development, so it will be interesting to observe if Chinese leadership explores opportunities that may be on the ocean floor.

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