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Scientists dig for ice cores on Tibetan plateau



October 08, 2015

Reporter: Jin Yingqiao 丨 CCTV.com

A major multinational scientific expedition is being carried out on China's Southwest Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Its mission is to collect ice cores in the remote, primitive land, which could allow us to further understand climate change.

A major multinational scientific expedition is on going on China

A major multinational scientific expedition is on going on China's Southwest Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Its mission is to collect ice cores in the remote, primitive land which could allow us to further understand climate change.

The plateau, with its glaciers of all sizes, is sometimes known as “the third polar region in the world.”

Stretching across dozens of square kilometers, the Guliya ice cap has vertical ice walls more than 20 meters high. 

After a grueling eight-day journey, the expedition team has reached a point 6,200 meters above sea level, using snowmobiles, and sometimes manual labor, too. 

Some of them had already visited 20 years ago.

"The most difficult part is that this slope is very slippery. It's a bit dangerous walking on it," said Zhao Huabiao, Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

After an 8-day gruelling journey, the expedition team has reached a place 6,200 meters above sea level...using snowmobiles, and sometimes manual labor too.

After an 8-day gruelling journey, the expedition team has reached a place 6,200 meters above sea level...using snowmobiles, and sometimes manual labor too. 

When the team was about to set off again, a Russian team member rushed over to them on a snow motorbike, shouting along the way. It turned out there was a big crack in the ice ahead of them. Falling into it would cause sudden death. 

"There's a big crack and another small one. You may not notice them over there, watch out," said Li Jiule, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The team is more than 6,000 meters above sea level, in a world of ice and snow.

"This glacier is on our Tibetan plateau, which can have impact on Asian and global climate. And this glacier is the thickest on the plateau," Zhao said.

From this point, scientists will further penetrate another 6–10 kilometers down into the drilling zones, into the heart of the plateau, to recover the deep hidden ice cores. 

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau sometimes called the third polar region in the world with its glaciers of all sizes.

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau sometimes called the third polar region in the world with its glaciers of all sizes.

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