Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Russia proves Mendeleev Ridge is Eurasian continent extension

Alexandra Zakharova and Vitaly Radnayev in the Voice of Russia: Russia’s Arctic shelf boundaries could be extended to the North Pole. The country’s scientists have proved that the underwater Mendeleev Ridge in central part of the Arctic Ocean is an extension of the Eurasian continent. Within a year the results of the Arctic-2012 expedition will be submitted to the UN as a renewed Russian bid to have its shelf extended.

A team of Russian scientists spent several months thoroughly examining the Artctic Ocean floor. Thanks to financial support from the authorities the expedition used two icebreakers, a submarine and drilling facilities.

Russia’s first bid to consider the Mendeleev Ridge an extension of its national shelf was made in 2001. It was then, however, blocked by a UN special commission due to the fact that the research had been made by the military, and some data were classified. The main task of the expedition was to prove Russia`s claim about its Arctic shelf extension, says Mikhail Shkatov, director general of the Sevmorgeo scientific enterprise.

"Russia’s task was to collect enough evidence to prove its claim: to set the baselines, the foot of the continental shelf and then formulate the text of the bid and start demarcation of borders. But there is something special about underwater ridges: one can claim its sovereignty over them in case their continental origin is beyond doubt. If we do this, our borders could extend to the North Pole and we will border the United States at the 180 degree meridian."

Geologists believe that the issue will unlikely to be settled in the years to come. The Mendeleev Ridge develops into the underwater Alpha Ridge which is claimed by Canada. Ottawa has not yet issued its bid. But it is evident that talks between the two countries will be long as the Arctic holds some 25% of the world`sundiscovered energy resources . The Mendeleev-Alpha ridge is rich in oil and gold which is proved by their age of 300 million years that was established through deep seismic probing held as part of the Arctic-2012 expedition....

Locator map showing Novaya Zembla in Russia

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