The area north of Greenland
One of the most prominent morphological features in the Arctic Ocean is the Lomonosov
Ridge, which runs from Greenland/Ellesmere Island across the Arctic Ocean passed the North Pole towards the Siberian shelf. This submarine feature is therefore very important in relation to the possibilities for extension of the continental shelf according to article 76 of UNCLOS in the area north of Greenland. Provided that it can be proven to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) that the Lomonosov Ridge is a natural prolongation of the Greenland landmass, and that it constitutes a submarine elevation it will be possible to extend the Greenland continental shelf beyond the North Pole since the 2500 meter depth contour runs along the Lomonosov Ridge. Since the same arguments can be used by our Canadian neighbors and our opposite neighbor - Russia, all three countries face the same task to demonstrate this concept is valid to CLCS. The three countries are therefore "in the same boat".
3D visualization of bathymetric data in the Arctic Ocean based on the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO)
The Lomonosov Ridge, which runs from Greenland/Ellesmere Island across the Arctic Ocean, passed the North Pole towards the Siberian shelf is clearly visible as is the Gakkel Ridge an active spreading ridge and Morris Jesup Rise, which was mapped during the LOMROG expedition in 2007.
The potential claim area north of Greenland (shown with a grey tone) as derived from a desk top study based on existing - however sparse - data from the area. The potential claim area can have a size of up to 150,000 km2. Assumptions made are that the Lomonosov Ridge is a natural prolongation of the Greenland landmass, that it constitutes a submarine elevation and that sufficient thick sediments can be mapped outside the Hedberg line (FOS + 60 nautical miles). FOS - Foot of the continental slope. The unofficial medianlines between the Arctic coastal states are shown as stippled black lines.
Data collection north of Greenland from 2006 to 2012. Yellow line: LORITA seismic refraction profiles 2006; green line - LOMROG I ship track 2007; red line - LOMROG II ship track 2009, orange line - LOMROG III ship track 2012, blue stippled lines - bathymetric profiles acquired by helicopter during spring of 2009 and during LOMROG II & LOMROG III; yellow lines - seismic data acquired during LOMROG I, II & III (2007, 2009 & 2012); white stippled lines - unofficial median lines.
If the above mentioned assumptions are used in a desk top study based on existing - however sparse - data, a potential claim area north of Greenland can be calculated. The median line principle is used to delimitate the area, which can have a size of up to 150,000 km2.
Due to the severe ice and weather conditions and the remoteness of the area north of Greenland, data acquisition here is a major logistical challenge and therefore the data coverage in the area is very sparse. More on this subject in a paper (Challenges of collecting data for article 76 in ice covered waters of the Arctic
- pdf-file ~2,5mb) presented at the 2008 ABLOS meeting.
A realistic concept for data collection was developed during a pre-study in 2002. In June 2005 a formal agreement on joint data acquisition and interpretation was signed with the Canadian Continental Shelf Project. Since then this agreement has been the basis for a very close collaboration between the two countries in order to acquire the necessary data regarding an extended continental shelf claim not only in the Arctic but also in the Labrador Sea.
Since spring of 2006 a total of six major data acquisition projects have been successfully undertaken in the area north of Greenland, most of the projects in cooperation with Canada and Sweden:
The project is in accordance with the concept for data acquisition developed in 2002. With the LOMROG III cruise data acquisition in the area north of Greenland within the framework of the Continental Shelf Project of the Kingdom of Denmark has been finalized. It is expected that the acquired data can form the technical basis for an extended continental shelf claim in the area north of Greenland, which is planned to be submitted to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) at the end of 2014.
expedition in spring of 2006 – acquisition of refraction seismic data with CFS Alert as base.
cruise in summer of 2007 with the Swedish icebreaker Oden in a cooperation with the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and with the Russian nuclear icebreaker 50 let Pobedy as lead icebreaker – acquisition of primarily bathymetric, seismic and gravity data. A Canadian hydrographer participated in the cruise.
- Collection of bathymetric and gravity data
on the sea ice in spring 2009 with a Canadian ice camp at Ward Hunt Island as base
- Acquisition of airborne geophysical data
in spring 2009 on both sides of the Lomonosov Ridge
- LOMROG II 2009
cruise in summer of 2009 with the Swedish icebreaker Oden again in a cooperation with the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat - acquisition of primarily bathymetric, seismic and gravity data. A Canadian and a Russian hydrographer participated in the cruise.
- LOMROG III
cruise in summer of 20012 with the Swedish icebreaker Oden in cooperation with the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat - acquisition of seismic, bathymetric and gravity data and collection of dredge samples from the Lomonosov Ridge.
Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (Михаи́л Васи́льевич Ломоно́сов) (November 8, 1711 – April 4, 1765).
Lomonosov was the first Russian natural scientist of world importance. He had encyclopedic knowledge, interests and abilities, and he also is known as a poet, artist, and Russian historian. He studied at Moscow, St. Petersburg, and in Germany, and became the first Russian professor of chemistry at St. Petersburg Academy of Science in 1745. His major scientific accomplishment was in the field of physical chemistry, with other notable discoveries in astronomy, geophysics, geology and mineralogy.
His two most important geological publications are A word on the formation of metals from earth tremors (1757) and On the Earths strata, published in 1763 as a supplement to a treatise on metallurgy. He developed the principle that nature undergoes regular, continuous evolution, the actualistic method, which has much in common with Huttons later concept of uniformitarianism. He demonstrated the organic origin of soil, peat, coal, petroleum and amber, and made significant contributions in mineralogy.
Lomonosov was well regarded by contemporary European scientists; he was elected honorary member of the Swedish (1760) and Bologna (1764) academies of science. He worked persistently to upgrade the quality of Russian scientific education, and his efforts resulted in the founding in 1755 of what is now Moscow State University. Lomonosov occupies a central place in the history of Russian science, and he is memorialized in place names and honorary scientific medals (from History of Geology by James S. Aber).