China and the deep sea

On the one hand, you have China’s brand-spanking new Jialong submersible capable of reaching 7000 meters depth, 500 meters deeper than its nearest competitor, representing an amazing tool for unraveling the secrets of the wonderous deep.

On the other hand, you have China’s move to mine to sulphide deposits hydrothermal vents in international waters.

In a surprise move this May, China became the first country to apply for a contract area in international waters to prospect for massive sulphide ore. An agreement between Comra and the International Seabed Authority has yet to be approved. Its aim is “exploration not exploitation”, Liu said. China has no sulphide deposits in its waters and most of the likely sites are in international waters, along mid-ocean ridges.

Perhaps China can find better uses for their submersible and more interesting questions about the deep sea to explore instead of “Can we profit from it?”

via China seeks to mine deep sea riches | Science | Guardian Weekly.

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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