Chinese expedition reaches Dome A at Antarctica

Posted: Jan 15, 2008 05:08 pm EST

(ThePoles.com) A 17-member Chinese expedition team Saturday reached Dome A, Xinhua reports. The scientists reached the dome with an elevation of 4,093 meters at 11:45 a.m. local time (0645 GMT) after a 21 day journey.

Dome A or Dome Argus is an Antarctican plateau located 1200 kilometres inland. Wikipedia reports that it is thought to be one of the coldest naturally occurring places on Earth, with temperatures believed to reach -90 °C.

While Mount Vinson (4,897m) on the southern part of the Sentinel Range is the highest altitude mark in Antarctica; Dome A is the highest ice feature, comprising a dome or eminence of 4,093 m elevation, located near the center of East Antarctica and approximately midway between the head of Lambert Glacier and the South Pole.

The perfect spot for an astronomical observatory

The team raised a flag and a memorial sculpture on the point. Expedition leader Sun Bo told Changcheng Station in Antarctica over satellite phone that all 17 members are well and will now select a location for an astronomical observatory and China's third Antarctic research station. The team will also spend 70 days on a scientific project dubbed "The Panda plan."

This is the second time that Chinese scientists have arrived at the dome after a similar climb on Jan. 18, 2005, the first ever by mankind, Xinhua reports.

The first attempt to reach the spot was in 1997; it failed after 300 kms and 13-days, however marking China's first Antarctic icecap expedition. Several more attempts followed, until on Jan. 18, 2005, 13 expedition members made the first ascent of Dome A.

The name "Dome Argus" was given by the Scott Polar Research Institute from Greek mythology; Argus built the ship in which Jason and the Argonauts traveled.

The coldest air temperature recorded at Dome A during 2005 was -82.5°C. The lowest air temperature (-89.2°C) at the surface of the earth was recorded in July 1983 at Vostok, which is almost 600 m lower in elevation than Dome A.

China currently has two stations in Antarctica. Changcheng Station, founded in February 1985, is located south of King George Island, and Zhongshan Station, built in February 1989, is located south of Prydz Bay on the Mirror Peninsula, east of the Larsemann Hills. The 17 researchers are part of China's 24th scientific expedition team to Antarctica.

China launched its first expedition to Antarctica in 1984, since when such expeditions have been conducted on an annual basis.










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A 17-member Chinese expedition team Saturday reached Dome A; the highest point of the ice sheet (4093 m above sea level). The team raised a flag and a memorial sculpture on the spot. This is a repeat of a similar Chinese climb to the spot on Jan. 18, 2005, the first ever by mankind, Xinhua reports.
Image from the 2005 first ascent to the dome.
It took 8 years of attempts; but in 2005 the Chinese finally bagged it.
Dome A is thought to be one of the coldest naturally occurring places on Earth, with temperatures believed to reach -90 °C. Thus the camera cover in 2005.
The scientists will now select a location for an astronomical observatory and China's third Antarctic research station on the spot. The team will also spend 70 days on a scientific project dubbed "The Panda plan." All images courtesy of chinare.cn.