BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- China has used a domestically made underwater robot to study polymetallic sulfide in the southwest Indian Ocean, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said on Thursday.
Scientists aboard the "Dayang-1" oceanic research vessel remotely operated the "Hailong" unmanned underwater vehicle on five occasions from late January to early February, with one of their five attempts failing.
They found sulfide in more areas of China's exploration contract area, and gained new understanding of the characteristics of the carbonate area, according to the SOA.
This detailed information is important for China's future research in the polymetallic sulfide exploration contract area, the SOA said.
The 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 came to rest in the seabed in "chimney vents."
With the help of the Hailong, scientists observed these vents, blind shrimp and fish as well as other creatures in hydrothermal areas. The underwater vehicle also extracted a tube of water samples.
Chief expedition scientist Tao Chunhui said the high-precision positioning, real-time control, observation, picture-taking and sampling in this task could not have been achieved with conventional survey methods.
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