Chinese scientists, and American researchers from Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Palisades, New York, are conducting joint explorations of the geological history, evolution, and structure of the South China Sea. Several parts of the project have already been completed and more sophisticated investigations are planned for the future.

The combined effort got an official start on December 3rd, when Lamont-Doherty associate director Dennis E. Hayes arrived in Kuangchow (Canton) aboard the observatory's research vessel Vema and signed formal protocols (agreements) with People's Republic of China Ministry of Geology representative Guo Zhenxi.