You are here:   Home/ Development News/ Highlights

Nation builds 5th Antarctic station

China Daily, April 16, 2014 Adjust font size:

A groundbreaking ceremony for China's fifth station in the Antarctic is expected to take place during the next South Pole expedition planned for November.

"It will take at least three years to build the fifth Antarctic research station because of the short annual construction period and our limited transportation capacity in Antarctica," Qu Tanzhou, director of the State Oceanic Administration's Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, told China Daily on Sunday.

Summer at the South Pole lasts from November to February with temperatures struggling to get above -20 C, according to the research center British Antarctic Survey.

China's icebreaker, Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, returned to Shanghai on Tuesday, finishing the 30th Antarctic expedition.

Besides tough weather conditions, Qu said that because the new station will be permanent, it requires the approval of other Antarctic consultative states before construction.

China has finished and submitted the environmental assessment report, which will be discussed at an international meeting in Brazil later this year, Qu said.

"The area of the new station, less than 5 square kilometers, will be located in Terra Nova Bay in the Ross Sea region, which can help scientists study the Southern Ocean in Antarctica," Qu said.

The station will be designed to house up to 80 people in summer and 30 in winter, People's Daily reported.

Zha Enlai, a researcher at China Geological Survey's Center of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology who went to the Ross Sea base this year, said the geological conditions, which are mainly granite, are good for construction.

He said the main building will be about 6,000 square meters and a wind farm will help power the station.

The Ross Sea region is one of the most important areas of Antarctica and a leading gateway to the continent. The region has unique biological and geological features, including various specimens, active volcanoes and the largest ice shelf on Earth.

China plans to purchase its first fixed-wing aircraft for polar expedition this year.

The country expects to build a new icebreaker in 2016, which will be designed mainly for field research, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

The country's polar exploration will enter a period of fast development, Qu said.

China has built four Antarctic research bases — Great Wall, Zhongshan, Kunlun and Taishan.

The main building of the latest Taishan summer field camp was completed within 45 days from late December to February.

Bookmark and Share

Related News & Photos