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Chinese expedition close to reaching Antarctica's highest icecap
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13:49, January 10, 2008

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A 17-member Chinese expedition marched 72 km Wednesday bringing the team within 100 km from Dome A, the highest Antarctic icecap peak at an elevation of 4,093 meters, team leader Sun Bo said.

The expedition managed to move ahead in temperatures of under minus 30 degrees Celsius and heavy winds, Sun told China's Changcheng (Great Wall) Station in Antarctica via satellite phone.

Sun said Monday that his team would arrive at the peak of Dome A Friday.

The 17 scientists set off from China's Zhongshan Station in eastern Antarctica on Dec. 22 for Dome A. They are tasked with choosing a suitable location for China's third Antarctic research station and carrying out a major exploration mission, the Panda plan.

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 which arrived here Saturday. The country launched its first expedition to Antarctica in 1984, since when such expeditions have been conducted on an annual basis.

Source: Xinhua

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