BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) -- An international ocean drilling mission to better understand seafloor spreading, ocean crust accretion and mantle evolution has concluded in the South China Sea.
As part of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 349, the 62-day mission was jointly sponsored by the IODP and China, and was made possible with the drilling ship JOIDES Resolution from the United States.
The vessel drilled a combined depth of 4,300 meters under the sea and cored a huge amount of samples from sedimentary rocks and basalt which might offer insights into the precise age, evolution process and geological structuring of the South China Sea, according to a statement released Thursday by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Meanwhile, scientists found evidence indicating repetitious large-scale volcanic movements in the later phase of the region's formation and expansion, which might shed light on the formation of seamounts.
During the trip, 32 scientists from 11 countries and regions conducted research in multiple fields including geology, geophysics and microbiology.
The IODP is a ten-year (2013-2023) multi-nation marine research program to advance the scientific understanding of Earth.