Geography
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment provides legal grounds for expanding Russia’s Arctic shelf zone
© RIA Novosti. Valeriy Melnikov

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment provides legal grounds for expanding Russia’s Arctic shelf zone

Experts from the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment headed by Minister Sergei Donskoi have submitted the legal grounds for expanding the country's Arctic shelf zone to a sub-commission of the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, Interfax reports, quoting ministry sources.

They plan to submit a geological model justifying the shelf's possible expansion. It will take the sub-commission's experts three days to conduct a preliminary assessment of Russian presentation.

Russia expects the sub-commission members to submit follow-up questions after the review session and plans to answer these questions during the second stage of the review process this fall.

According to Interfax, Donskoi said during the presentation that the data confirmed the continental nature of the Lomonosov and Alpha-Mendeleyev ridges, the Chukotka Plateau and their continuous extension from the shallow Eurasian shelf. The justified nature of Russia's claims is confirmed by the consistency and nature of sedimentary cover and mantles, the total continuity and weathered nature of deep-level terrestrial-crust layers and by the lack of shift-type faults at the junction of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Eurasian continent.

The Minister noted that Russia was ready to conduct further research if the sub-commission had more questions.

The delegation has the right to supplement its claim with any materials during the review process. No specific deadlines are stipulated for answering questions and remarks by the sub-commission or for reviewing specific claims. Considering the substantial volume of materials, the review could take as long as three years, Donskoi said.

Sub-commission members will eventually issue their recommendations that will be discussed by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.