Updated 8:47 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

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China's Submersible Jiaolong Retrieves Seamount Samples From the South China Sea

China's submersible Jiaolong

(Photo : YouTube) China's submersible Jiaolong has retrieved several samples from the Zhenbei Seamount in the South China Sea.

China's manned submersible Jiaolong has retrieved a basalt sample from the Zhenbei Seamount in the South China Sea on Saturday, giving scientists some new hints about the formation and evolution of seamounts in the region.

This is Jiaolong's third dive in the second stage of China's 38th ocean scientific expedition, which will last until May 13, Xinhua reported. It stayed for nine and a half hours underwater at a maximum depth of 2,930 meters beneath the sea surface.

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The submersible was able to bring back a five-kilogram sample of basalt, some sediments, seawater near the seabed, and biosamples, as well as high-definition photos and videos.

"It is not easy [to acquire the basalt sample]. This valuable 'rock' will lay the foundation for our study of formation and evolvement of seamounts in the South China Sea during the Cenozoic period," Shi Xuefa, a researcher from the State Oceanic Administration, said. "It is very important for the study of the region's structural evolution."

Jiaolong, named after a mythical dragon, has completed two dives in the South China Sea on Wednesday and Thursday. It planned to carry out the fourth dive on Sunday.

China's 38th oceanic scientific expedition began on Feb. 6. Jiaolong completed a dive in the northwestern Indian Ocean this year to carry out the mission's first stage. It will also carry out surveys in the Yap Trench and the Mariana Trench in the third stage.

Jiaolong reached the deepest depth of Mariana Trench in June 2012 at 7,062 meters.

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