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China plans Tibetan plateau exploration

January 5, 2012

BEIJING, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- China says it will send researchers to a large stretch of uninhabited land on the Tibetan plateau to study a range of issues in the so-called no man's land.

Scientists will study a number of issues, from the impact of global warming to the condition of the infrastructure built in and across the region, China's official Xinhua news agency reported Saturday.

The expedition is the biggest since 60 scientists first traveled to the region in 1990, Hu Dongsheng, a natural resources and environment professor with Hunan Normal University, said.

Hoh Xil, occupying 91,000 square miles of the plateau land in western Qinghai province -- and the natural habitat of Tibetan antelopes and wild horses -- is considered by scientists to be one of the world's most sensitive areas to global climate change.

Research will be conducted in the field of geology, climate, ecology, environment, and archaeology, Hu said, to learn about the changes that have taken place in the region during the past two decades.

"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, noting the expedition intends to set out this summer.

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