China Builds Fourth Research Base in Antarctic

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 19, 2013 4:58 PM EST

China on Thursday announced that it will be building its fourth research base in the Antarctic, the Taishan summer field camp, according to the state-run China Daily.

The camp will be specifically used for research into "geology, glaciers, geomagnetism and atmospheric science," the AFP cited the Chinese report as saying. The camp's main building, China Daily said, will be shaped "like a Chinese lantern."

China expects to complete next year the construction of the project. The Taishan camp will be used only from December to March. Construction is expected to take 40 days.

"As a latecomer to Antarctic scientific research, China is catching up," Xinhua News quoted Qu Tanzhou, director of the State Oceanic Administration's Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration.

"Building the Taishan camp and inspecting sites for the station can further guarantee that Chinese scientists will conduct scientific research over a wider range and in a safer way," Mr Qu said.

Chinese scientists want to find answers in the region in light of the burgeoning climate change, he noted.

Environmental activists hold placards as they protest during the 19th conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP19) in Warsaw November 21, 2013. Several major environmental groups, including Greenpeace and WWF, have walked out of U.N. climate talks in Warsaw in protest at what they see as a lack of progress towards an international deal to curb rising global greenhouse gas emissions. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Liu Shunlin, team leader of the latest Antarctic expedition, said in November the Taishan camp will be built 2,621 meters above sea level at Princess Elizabeth Land. Taishan will provide crucial support for scientific research at the Kunlun Station, China's first and only inland base in Antarctica so far, which is at 4,087 meters above sea level.

"With the camp built, Antarctic explorers and scientists can relieve altitude sickness and have a place to rest before going to the Kunlun Station," Mr Qu said.

China's first Antarctic exploration to the remote continent was in 1984. Its first research base was established a year later.

The country has three research stations in the Antarctic, including the Great Wall, Zhongshan and Kunlun.

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