A group of nine Chinese scientists will go to west China's Qinghai Province this month to closely examine the relics thought by some to have been left by extraterrestrial beings (ET).
It will be the first time scientists seriously study the mysterious site near Delingha City in the depths of the Qaidam Basin, according to government sources with the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where Delingha is located.
The site, known by local people as "the ET relics", is on Mount Baigong about 40 kilometers to the southwest of Delingha City.
On the north of the mountain are twin lakes dubbed as the "lover Lakes", one with fresh water and the other with salty water.
"ET" pyramid, caves and pipes
The so-called ET relics structure is located on the south bank of the salty lake. It looks like a pyramid and is between 50 to 60 meters high.
At the front of the pyramid are three caves with triangular openings. The cave in the middle is the biggest, with its floor standing two meters above the ground and its top eight meters above the ground.
This cave is about six meters in depth. Inside there is a half-pipe about 40 centimeters in diameter tilting from the top to the inner end of the cave. Another pipe of the same diameter goes into the earth with only its top visible above the ground.
Above the cave are a dozen pipes of various diameters which run into the mountain.
All the pipes are red brownish, the same color as that of surrounding rocks.
The two smaller caves have collapsed and are inaccessible.
Scattered about the caves and on the bank of the salty lake area are a large number of rusty scraps, pipes of various diameters and strangely shaped stones.
Some of the pipes run into the lake.
Mysterious site to be explored
According to Qin Jianwen, head of the publicity department of the Delingha government, the scraps were once taken to a local smeltery for analysis.
The result shows that they are made up of 30 per cent ferric oxide with a large amount of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide. Eight per cent of the content could not be identified.
"The large content of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide is a result of long interaction between iron and sandstone, which means the pipes must be very old," said Liu Shaolin, the engineer who did the analysis.
"This result has made the site even more mysterious," Qin said. "Nature is harsh here. There are no residents, let alone modern industry in the area, only a few migrating herdsmen to the north of the mountain."
Someone has suggested that the site might have been a launch tower left by ET.
The area is high in altitude, with thin and transparent air. It is an ideal place to practice astronomy, Qin said.
In fact, the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has a large radio telescope just 70 kilometers from the site.
Yang Ji, a research fellow at the observatory, said the hypothesis of ET relics is understandable and worth of looking into.
"But scientific means must be employed to prove whether t it is true," he added.