The Lomonosov Ridge (Russian: Хребет Ломоносова) is an unusual underwater ridge of continental crust in the Arctic Ocean. It spans 1800 km between the New Siberian Islands over the central part of the ocean to Ellesmere Island of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The width of the Lomonosov Ridge varies from 60 to 200 km. It rises 3,300 to 3,700 m above the 4,200 m deep seabed. The minimum depth of the ocean above the ridge is less than 400 m. Slopes of the ridge are relatively steep, broken up by canyons, and covered with layers of silt.
The Lomonosov Ridge was first discovered by the Soviet high-latitude expeditions in 1948 and is named after Mikhail Lomonosov. The name was approved by the GEBCO Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN).
In the 2000s, the geological structure of the ridge attracted international attention due to a 20 December 2001 official submission by the Russian Federation to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (article 76, paragraph 8). The document proposed establishing new outer limits for the Russian continental shelf, beyond the previous 200-nautical-mile (370 km) zone, but within the Russian Arctic sector. The territory claimed by Russia in the submission is a large portion of the Arctic reaching the North Pole. One of the arguments was a statement that the underwater Lomonosov Ridge and Mendeleev Ridge are extensions of the Eurasian continent. In 2002 the UN Commission neither rejected nor accepted the Russian proposal, recommending additional research.
Danish scientists hope to prove that the ridge is an extension of Greenland, and Denmark became another claimant to the area in 2014. Canada, also a claimant, asserts that the ridge is an extension of its continental shelf. In April 2007, Canadian and Russian scientists were sent to map the ridge as a possible precedent for determining sovereignty over the area. In late June 2007, Russian scientists claimed that the ridge is an extension of Russia's territory, and in 2011 a Russian scientist said that Russia and Denmark claim different parts of the ridge and the claims are not conflicting. Other sources indicate that some areas are disputed.
Canada is expected to make further claims. Denmark and Russia have agreed to follow certain procedures when making claims. If the Danish claims are accepted by the Commission in summer 2015, the distribution of areas may still be a matter of negotiation between claiming countries - a process which can take several years. The rhetoric used in making claims is also subject to discussion.
A 21-member UN arbitration panel is considering the competing claims, with the focus on the Lomonosov Ridge.
Arktika 2007 Expedition
In late July 2007, a Russian expedition sent an icebreaker and two mini-submarines, Mir-I and Mir-II, to explore the region. Russian scientists dived down 4261 m (14,000 ft) below the surface and on 2 August planted a rust-proof titanium metal Russian flag on the seabed. In April 2007, Canada and Denmark, which both claimed part of the ridge, were also mapping it under the polar ice, Canada's CBC reported.
As a follow-up in mid-September 2007, Russia's Natural Resources Ministry issued a statement:
Preliminary results of an analysis of the earth crust model examined by the Arctic-2007 expedition, obtained on 20 September, have confirmed that the crust structure of the Lomonosov Ridge corresponds to the world analogues of the continental crust, and it is therefore part of the Russian Federation's adjacent continental shelf.
2014 Danish claim
|Area of the Greenland continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean beyond 200-nautical-mile zone - borders of the 200 mile zone are marked in red, territory claimed by Denmark is shaded|
In 2014 Denmark filed a claim with the UN Commission for a 895,000 km2 area around the Lomonosov Ridge, using paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of Article 76. The connection between Greenland and Lomonosov is stated as going through the Lincoln shelf (400m below the Lincoln Sea, between the Wandel Sea in the east and Cape Columbia, Canada in the west), which was pushed up when Greenland went north during the late Paleozoic, Paleocene and Eocene time frames. Some rocks from the ridge are similar to those found in Ellesmere, Greenland, Scandinavia and United Kingdom. Connectivity between land and the ridge may be defined from the Foot of the Slope. From the ridge foot claims are made out to 60 nautical miles ("Hedberg formula"), or 100 NM where the sedimentary layer is more than a nautical mile deep ("Gardiner formula", 1% of the distance).
- CBC News. Broken ship halts Russian expedition to claim Arctic seabed. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2007.
- GEUS 2014, page 12
- "IHO-IOC GEBCO Gazetteer" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization/Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. September 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
- Outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines: Submissions to the Commission: Submission by the Russian Federation CLCS. United Nations
- Area of the continental shelf of the Russian Federation in the Arctic Ocean beyond 200-nautical-mile zone - borders of the 200 mile zone are marked in red, territory claimed by Russia is shaded
- Denmark hopes to claim the North Pole BBC News, 5 October 2004. Retrieved 10 November 2006.
- "Submission by the Kingdom of Denmark" United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 15 December 2014. Accessed: 15 December 2014.
- Kremlin lays claim to huge chunk of oil-rich North Pole The Guardian, 28 June 2007. Accessed 3 July 2007.
- Staalesen, Atle. "No dispute over Lomonosov Ridge" Barents Observer, 2 February 2011. Accessed: 17 December 2014.
- "Territorial Claims" The Right Arctic
- GEUS 2014, page 17
- GEUS 2014, page 18
- Ramskov, Jens. "Derfor gør Danmark nu krav på Nordpolen" In English Ingeniøren, 15 December 2014. Accessed: 15 December 2014.
- "Rhetorial Claims" The Right Arctic
- "Arctic deal bans North Pole fishing". BBC News. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- BBC News: Russia plants flag under N Pole
- Mapping continues along the Lomonosov Ridge – SikuNews, 17 April 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-07
- "Lomonosov Ridge, Mendeleyev elevation part of Russia's shelf - report". Interfax Moscow. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2007.[dead link]
- GEUS 2014, page 11
- "Article 76" The Right Arctic
- Døssing 2014
- Døssing, A., Hansen, T. M., Olesen, A. V., Hopper, J. R., & Funck, T. (2014). "Gravity inversion predicts the nature of the Amundsen Basin and its continental borderlands near Greenland" Elsevier/GEOBASE/GEUS/DTU Space - Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 408, 132-145. 12 October 2014. Accessed: 15 December 2014. Size: 15 pages in 10MB. DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.10.011
- GEUS 2014. "The Northern Continental Shelf of Greenland (Executive Summary)" Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland / Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building (Denmark), November 2014. Accessed: 15 December 2014. Size: 52 pages in 6MB. UN mirror