China’s manned sub Jiaolong takes hydrothermal fluid in Indian Ocean

 

 

 

Photo taken on January 3, 2015 shows China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong on

its carrier Xiangyanghong 09 on the Indian Ocean.  Photo by Zhang Xudong

 

Chinese scientist Ding Kang, pilot Tang Jialing and pilot trainee Chen Yunsai (left to right) wave

to their colleagues before entering into Jiaolong, China’s deep sea manned submersible, for a

exploration mission on its carrier Xiangyanghong 09 on the Indian Ocean.   Photo by Zhang Xudong

 

Photo taken on January 3, 2015 shows China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong on its

carrier Xiangyanghong 09 on the Indian Ocean.   Photo by Zhang Xudong

 

China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong is untied from its carrier Xiangyanghong 09

on the Indian Ocean, on January 3, 2015. Jiaolong on Saturday of January 3 continued to dive

into southwestern Indian Ocean to explore active hydrothermal vents at the seabed.   

Photo by Zhang Xudong

 

 

 

 

ABOARD XIANGYANGHONG 09  |  2015-01-03 11:42:34

 

China’s manned sub Jiaolong

takes hydrothermal fluid in Indian Ocean

 

By Zhang Xudong

 

China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong took 300 milliliters of hydrothermal fluid in two active hydrothermal vents and other scientific samples at the seabed of southwestern Indian Ocean on Friday of January 2.

The temperature of one active hydrothermal vent, which Jiaolong measured with a special probe in its iron hand, was 352 degree Celsius, said Yu Hongjun, chief commander of the expedition.

“This is a big step for Jiaolong as this is the first time the submersible did it,” said Yu.

Detailed information and samples that Jiaolong collected will be very important for China’s future polymetallic sulfide study and other scientific research, said Tao Chunhui, chief scientist of the expedition.

Besides, Jiaolong gathered 1.8 kg of sulfide, 2.3 kg of basalt, 15 spiral shells, one stalked barnacle and 8 liters of deep-sea water in this dive.

“We saw that lots of active hydrothermal vents alternated with inactive ones in this area.” said Fu Wentao, pilot of Jiaolong, who celebrated his 32nd birthday in the dive.

As the topography of the polymetallic sulfide area was complicated, it was very hard to find a proper place for the submersible to rest, Fu said.

“The temperature of active hydrothermal vents is more than 300 degree Celsius, so I must keep the submersible away from the vents but I also need to get the submersible as close as possible to the vents to measure the temperatures and get samples,” Fu said.

Hydrothermal sulfide is a kind of sea-bed deposit containing copper, zinc and precious metals such as gold and silver. Those metals formed sulfides after chemical reactions and settled at the seabed in “chimney vents.”

Being on a 120-day expedition in southwest Indian Ocean, Jiaolong is scheduled to dive 20 times to study polymetallic sulfides, biological diversity, hydrothermal microbes and genetic resources.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOARD XIANGYANGHONG 09  |   2015-01-04 09:28:03

 

China’s deep-sea sub collects

perfect “chimney vent” in SW Indian Ocean

 

By Zhang Xudong

 

China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong collected a perfect “chimney vent” in the seabed of southwestern Indian Ocean on Saturday of January 3.

“Chimney vent”, also known as hydrothermal sulfide, is one kind of seabed deposit containing copper, zinc and precious metal such as gold and silver. Those kinds of metal formed sulfide after chemical reaction and came to rest in the seabed in “chimney vent.”

With several of mussels and spiral shells living on it, the “chimney vent” that Jiaolong collected was about 40-centimeter-high and 15-centimeter-wide, said Li Xiangyang, assistant chief commander of the mission.

“This is a perfect chimney vent for biologists and I believe there are lots of microorganisms integrated with it.” said Xiao Xiang, professor with Shanghai Jiaotong University, “I am so excited about it.”

Study of microorganisms is the base of researching ecosystem in hydrothermal areas, as microorganisms are nutrition resources of advanced organisms, Xiao said.

This “chimney vent” is very important for studying organisms in hydrothermal areas, which live in a completely dark world with rank poison, high-temperature and high-pressure, Xiao said.

The special genes of these organisms have great economic and scientific values, Xiao said.

The temperature of hydrothermal fluid flowing out of the collected “chimney vent” is 145 degrees Celsius, said Tang Jialing, who piloted Jiaolong in this dive.

Jiaolong also gathered 4.7 kg of sulfide, 39 kg of basalt, 32 spiral shells and 37 mussels.

Jiaolong, named after a mythical dragon, is on a 120-day expedition in the southwest Indian Ocean. It has planned to conduct 20 dives during the four-month period to research polymetallic sulfide, biological diversity, hydrothermal microbes and genetic resources in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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