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The area north of Greenland

Bathymetric map showing the submission area north of Greenland (highlighted). Red lines show the 200 nautical mile lines in the Arctic Ocean, the black lines the agreed boundaries and the stippled black line the equidistance line between Greenland and Canada. The North Pole is indicated by a cross.
See the animation in a higher resolution
3D animation of the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean.

Dark blue colours indicate larger water depths.

The animation shows the Lomonosov Ridge, a 1800-km long undersea mountain range traversing the Arctic Ocean form Greenland to Russia. The relief and size of the ridge is similar to the Alps. The deeper parts of the world's oceans - and not least the Arctic Ocean - are less known than the surface of the moon since only 10% have been mapped.

During his famous Fram expedition from 1893 to 1896, Fridtjof Nansen was the first to measure the water depths in the central part of the Arctic Ocean. Later, measurements were carried out from drifting ice stations and nuclear submarines. Today, most bathymetric data are acquired by icebreakers equipped with multibeam echosounders.

The coloured bands seen in the animation represent multibeam data collected during the Danish-Swedish LOMROG expeditions with the Swedish icebreaker Oden in 2007, 2009, and 2012.

Credits: Bathymetric data from the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (www.ibcao.org) and the Continental Shelf Project of the Kingdom of Denmark (a76.dk). Animation by Jan Erik Rasmussen, DTU Space.

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, past the North Pole towards the Siberian shelf is clearly visible. Very prominent is also the Gakkel Ridge that is an active spreading ridge. The Morris Jesup Rise north of Greenland was mapped during the LOMROG expedition in 2007.

Data collection north of Greenland from 2006 to 2012. Yellow line: LORITA seismic refraction profiles 2006; green line - LOMROG I ship track from 2007; red line - LOMROG II ship track from 2009, orange line - LOMROG III ship track from 2012, blue stippled lines - bathymetric profiles acquired by helicopter in the spring of 2009 and during LOMROG II and LOMROG III expeditions; yellow lines - seismic data acquired during LOMROG I, II and III (2007, 2009 and 2012); white stippled lines - unofficial median lines.

On 15 December 2014, the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark together with the Government of Greenland submitted documentation for an extended continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles north of Greenland to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). The claimed area in the Arctic Ocean covers approximately 895.000 km2.

The Kingdom of Norway's continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles overlaps the area of the Danish/Greenland submission. In addition, there is potential overlap with Canada, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, respectively. Having received recommendations from the CLCS, it will be up to the parties themselves to negotiate bilateral delimitation agreements. These negotiations will take place in accordance with the rules of the International Law of the Sea as laid down in the Ilulissat Declaration of 2008.

The Executive Summary of the submission can be downloaded:
DNK2014_ES_N-GREENLAND.pdf (pdf-file ~6 MB)
Maps and photos for media use can be downloaded here

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 (ABLOS - Advisory Board on the Law of the Sea).

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 larger-scale data acquisition projects have been carried out in the area north of Greenland, most of them in cooperation with Canada and Sweden:

  • LORITA expedition in the spring of 2006 - acquisition of refraction seismic data using the Canadian Forces Station Alert as base.
  • LOMROG I cruise in summer of 2007 with the Swedish icebreaker Oden in 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.
  • LOMBAG - Collection of bathymetric and gravity data on the sea ice in the spring of 2009 with a Canadian ice camp at Ward Hunt Island as base.
  • LOMGRAV - Acquisition of airborne geophysical data in the spring of 2009 on both sides of the Lomonosov Ridge.
  • LOMROG II cruise in the summer of 2009 with the Swedish icebreaker Oden in 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 the summer of 2012 with the Swedish icebreaker Oden in cooperation with the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat - collection of dredge samples from the Lomonosov Ridge and acquisition of seismic, bathymetric and gravity data.
The LOMROG III cruise in 2012 completed the data acquisition in the area north of Greenland within the Continental Shelf Project of the Kingdom of Denmark.


Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (1711 - 1765).

Lomonosov was a Russian natural scientist of world importance. He had encyclopedic knowledge and is also known as a poet, artist, and Russian historian. He studied at Moscow, St. Petersburg, and in Marburg and Freiburg, and became 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. In 1755, he was co-founder of the university in Moscow, which still bears his name.

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Last modified : Dec. 15, 2014
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