China’s unmanned submersible sets new national record

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Beijing | Published: August 23, 2016 4:46:22 PM

China's unmanned submersible has dived to a depth of 10,767 metres at the world's deepest ocean point, setting a new record for the country to enable it to explore ocean beds for minerals and other natural resources, officials said today.

China’s unmanned submersible has dived to a depth of 10,767 metres at the world’s deepest ocean point, setting a new record for the country to enable it to explore ocean beds for minerals and other natural resources, officials said today.

“Haidou-1” set the record at the Mariana Trench in the West Pacific, the deepest area in the world, during a scientific expedition from June 22 to August 12, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

During the trip the submersible dived over 8,000 metres below the sea surface once, 9,000 metres twice and 10,000 metres twice.

This makes China the third country after Japan and the US to have built submersibles capable of reaching depths in excess of 10,000 metres.

“It is another milestone in our maritime science journey after Jiaolong manned submersible,” said Liu Xincheng, a scientist with CAS and head of the expedition.

During the expedition, scientists also collected over 2,000 biological samples from 5,000 meters to 10,000 meters below sea level, including some unidentified species.

In June 2012, Jiaolong reached a depth of 7,062 metres at the Mariana Trench, the deepest of China’s manned submersible.

China has been striving to master the technology in deep sea diving to explore the ocean beds for minerals and precious metals.

Last year Jiaolong carried out 118 day voyage in the southwest Indian Ocean where it reported to have discovered large deposits of precious metals like gold and silver.

During its mission in March last year, Jiaolong successfully carried out 13 dives to observe different hydrothermal areas, the characteristics of hydrothermal fluids and deep-sea biodiversity, gathering a huge amount of data and more than 700 samples, according to the official media.

Deep-sea “chimney vents”, also known as hydrothermal sulfide, are a kind of seabed deposits containing copper, zinc and precious metals such as gold and silver.

China has gained a 15 year approval ISA in 2012 to explore a 10,000 sq km polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in an international seabed region of the southwest Indian Ocean.

China also has obtained exclusive rights to prospect in a 75,000-square-km polymetallicnodule ore deposit in the east Pacific Ocean in 2001.

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