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China's first round-the-globe oceanic research cruise makes progress

Chinese scientists on the research vessel "Dayang No. 1" have dug out 200 kilograms of hot sulphide from the center of the Pacific Ocean, making a remarkable breakthrough in China's first round-the-globe oceanic research, a source with the State Oceanic Administration said on Thursday.

"The hot sulphide, excavated from 2,600 meters below sea level, was the first large amount of mineral samples Chinese scientists obtained at the mouth of the underwater crater," said Song Wenbo, a senior official with the Beihai branch under the oceanic administration.

He said the samples were crucial for the study of the geosciences and life in extreme environments, while the successful excavation proved China's research vessel was sophisticated at positioning and digging, and was capable of advanced oceanic research.

China sent off the vessel in early April, with planned visits to the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean, hoping to explore the abundant energy resources in the ocean and study marine life.

There are 31 crew members and 41 researchers currently aboard the ship, including leading scientists from China and the United States. The research vessel is expected to return to the port city of Qingdao in January 2006.



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