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China plans major expedition to no man's land on Qinghai-Tibetan plateau

Chinese scientists are planning a major expedition to a large stretch of uninhabited land on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau to study a range of issues, from the impact of global warming to threats facing infrastructure built across the region. 

The Qinghai Tibet Plateau [Credit: Web]
The expedition is likely to be the most comprehensive since 60 scientists first travelled to the Hoh Xil region in 1990 and stayed there for three months, said Hu Dongsheng, a natural resources and environment professor with Hunan Normal University. 

Their research will cover a range of fields, including geology, climate, ecology, environment, and archaeology. 

Hoh Xil, which covers 235,000 square kilometers of the plateau land in western Qinghai province, is considered by scientists to be one of the regions most sensitive to global climate change. It is also the natural habitat of Tibetan antelopes and wild horses. 

Hu said the scientists are keen to learn about the changes that have taken place in Hoh Xil over the past two decades. They are especially eager to find out what caused a sudden surge in lake waters last September. 

"We would like to learn about what is affecting the ecology in Hoh Xil. And, what are the safety risks facing the railways and roads that cross the region," Hu said. 

Hu said the expedition is expected to set out in the summer of 2012. 

Source: CNTV [December 31, 2011]

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