Imperialism Going Strong in the Arctic

northpole.jpgIn the race for the Arctic there is Canada, United States, and Russia all staking claim on the increasingly accessible Northwest Passage and the mineral rights for the region. You have Canada building up a polar fleet and Arctic bases at the cost of several billion dollars. You have the Russians planting flags on the polar floor in sham expeditions which has Russian experts divided on the implications. Now it is the U.S. who is pursuing the Arctic.

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, in partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Joint Hydrographic Center and the National Science Foundation, will embark on a four-week cruise to map a portion of the Arctic sea floor starting Aug. 17.

This is, in fact, the third expedition in a series of cruises aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY designed to map the sea floor on the northern Chukchi Cap. Scientists will explore this poorly known region to better understand its morphology and the potential for including this area within the United States’ extended continental shelf under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

But don’t forget the Danes…

Meantime a Danish expedition is seeking evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,240-mile underwater mountain range, is attached to the Danish territory of Greenland, that would open the way for Danish claim under UNCLOS that could stretch all the way the North Pole. Interestingly, the Danish expedition will travel aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which will be assisted by a Russian nuclear icebreaker.

And in what many are calling a bizarre turn of events Peter and I are claiming the Arctic for DSN.


Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

4 comments on “Imperialism Going Strong in the Arctic
  1. Wow, I had no idea Deep Sea News was a player in the race to bag the North pole. Cool… Keep a close eye on the Ruskies they lick to elbow while in waiting in line.

    I have ichat on all tonight if you want to try it out. AIM: Slucky.


  2. Did you hear? On the way to the North Pole, the Russians may have stopped by the Titanic! Yes, it seems a news report “enhanced” their story with footage from the Titanic movie.

    In all of this, though, I just worry about the ocean and everything that lives in it. I moved to Vancouver Island and learned to scuba dive not that long ago, but I already hear stories of how the ocean, the fish, the sharks “used to be”. More traffic in one of the few places still somewhat untouched is only going to lead to serious problems.

Comments are closed.