Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arctic Map Plots New 'Gold Rush'

Date:
August 6, 2008
Source:
Durham University
Summary:
Researchers have drawn up the first ever "Arctic Map" to show the disputed territories that states might lay claim to in the future. The new map design follows a series of historical and ongoing arguments about ownership, and the race for resources, in the frozen lands and seas of the Arctic.

The Arctic map is believed to be the first published map that depicts maritime jurisdictional issues in the Arctic with geographic precision.
Credit: Copyright International Boundaries Research Unit

Researchers at Durham University have drawn up the first ever 'Arctic Map' to show the disputed territories that states might lay claim to in the future.

The new map design follows a series of historical and ongoing arguments about ownership, and the race for resources, in the frozen lands and seas of the Arctic.

The potential for conflicts is increasing as the search for new oil, gas and minerals intensifies.

The move to comprehensively map the region illustrates the urgent need for clear policy-making on Arctic issues – an area rich in natural resources. The Durham map shows:

  • where boundaries have been agreed
  • where known claims are
  • the potential areas that states might claim

Director of Research at the International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU), Martin Pratt says: "The map is the most precise depiction yet of the limits and the future dividing lines that could be drawn across the Arctic region.

"The results have huge implications for policy-making as the rush to carve up the polar region continues.

"It's a cartographic means of showing, and an attempt to collate information and predict the way in which the Arctic region may eventually be divided up. The freezing land and seas of the Arctic are likely to be getting hotter in terms of geopolitics; the Durham map aims to assist national and international policy-makers across the world."

It's a year since Russia planted a flag on the seabed, underneath the North Pole, highlighting its claim to a huge chunk of the Arctic.

The Russian demands relate to a complex area of law covered by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS). Under that law, any coastal state can claim territory 200 nautical miles (nm) from their shoreline (Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ) and exploit the natural resources within that zone. Some coastal states have rights that extend beyond EEZ due to their continental shelf. Areas of the seabed beyond the continental shelf are referred to as 'The Area' and any world state – landlocked or not – has equal rights in this area.

The continental shelf is the part of a country's landmass that extends into the sea before dropping into the deep ocean. Under UNCLOS, if a state can prove its rights, it can exploit the resources of the sea and the seabed within its territory.

Russia claims that its continental shelf extends along a mountain chain running underneath the Arctic, known as the Lomonosov Ridge. Theoretically, if this was the case, Russia might be able to claim a vast area of territory.

The IBRU map shows what is currently possible and what might be permissible in terms of territorial claims under international law. It also highlights the areas of land and sea where clashes of interest are likely.

A new survey by the US Geological Survey estimates that a fifth of the world's undiscovered, technically-recoverable resources lie within the Arctic Circle. The Lomonosov Ridge is just one area of contention between countries. Other disputes involve Canada, USA, (Greenland) Denmark, Iceland and Norway.

The problem with claims is that they must be verified by geological, geomorphological and bathymetric analysis (sub-sea surveys), and it's not an easy or quick process to verify claims.

The new map will help politicians to understand areas of maritime jurisdiction and the methodology employed could be vital in helping to settle future sea territorial disputes.

Conservationists want laws to protect the North Pole region and climate change is likely to bring further pressure as ice melts and the seas open up to exploration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Durham University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Durham University. "Arctic Map Plots New 'Gold Rush'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080805192723.htm>.
Durham University. (2008, August 6). Arctic Map Plots New 'Gold Rush'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080805192723.htm
Durham University. "Arctic Map Plots New 'Gold Rush'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080805192723.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins