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China to Build Its 1st Inland Antarctic Research Station Next Year

China will complete the construction of its first inland Antarctic research station at the highest peak in the region next year, said leader of the Chinese Antarctic expedition team in Shanghai on Saturday.

"The preparatory work for the new station is underway," Sun Bo, leader of the Chinese Antarctic icecap expedition team, told Xinhua.

"The 25th Antarctic expedition that will start in November is tasked with building the main structure of the station on Dome A, which is expected to complete next January."

The new research station will be China's third station in Antarctica after the Changcheng Station and Zhongshan Station.

"Chinese researchers made the first trip to Dome A in history in Jan. 2005. China will continue the scientific research into Dome A," Sun said.

The 17-member team had just came back from their 24th expedition on Wednesday. They fulfilled 46 scientific studies and 11 logistic programs and also successfully scaled Dome A, the continent's highest peak at 4,093 meters above sea level, for the second time in history on Jan. 12.

The researchers carried out scientific inspections on glaciers, geology, meteorological phenomenon and astronomy at the peak, which was significant to study the formation and evolution of the Antarctic icecap, Sun said.

"Scientists will also search for the ice core dating from 1.2 million years ago on Dome A, and study the geological evolution under the icecap, the global climate changes and astronomy there."

China launched its first expedition to the Antarctic in 1984.

(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2008)

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