China’s Antarctic Exploration: 1984-2014

Advances in Antarctica

This frigid land is covered in ice and snow all year round. Even in summer the emerging bedrock zones, where scientific investigation activities are conducted, occupy no more than five percent of the area. There is therefore a world as yet unknown to humans deep in the inland, which is why China constantly extends its explorations. On December 18, 2013, a section of China’s 30th Antarctic Scientific Expedition Team set out for the inner regions, its goal to establish the main structure of Taishan – China’s fourth scientific research station.

Located on Princess Elizabeth Land in eastern Antarctic, 522 km from the Zhongshan Station, 715 km from the Kunlun Station, and 85 km from the Grove Mountains, Taishan is a seasonal station that can accommodate 20 scientists for summer research. The Kunlun Station can also use it as a relay station to provide logistical support for scientific investigations on cross-sections of ice sheets between the Zhongshan and Kunlun stations, according to leader of the 30th Antarctic expedition team Liu Shunlin. Taishan can also serve as a base for scientific research in the Grove Mountains – a newly discovered region rich in meteorites that offers precious resources for learning more about geography and glaciers. The building of Taishan will expand China’s scope of South Pole exploration.

In 1984, Deng Xiaoping wrote the inscription for China’s first Antarctic expedition team: “To make due contributions for peaceful use of the polar areas.” In the past 30 years, China has pursued this goal and advanced in the field of polar research. Chinese scientists have carried out detailed investigations and observations on their expeditions. Their achievements have helped people everywhere to understand the Antarctic, and also made great contributions to humankind’s peaceful use of this land.

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