Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oceanography spurs the last great land grab on Earth

Wired has an excellent series of articles on how physical geographers (oceanographers) are mapping out the sea floor and how this is now a very political issue. (Hat Tip: Platial). Be sure to read Russia Contests Borders with Canada, Denmark, and the United States and Foreigners Keep Out! High Tech Mapping Starts to Redefine International Borders and check out some neat images.

The Law of the Sea Treaty allows countries to claim submerged land all the way to the continental shelf. However, with good but limited mapping ability and politics in the way the exact boundaries of these submerged borders are murky. Add in trillions of dollars of resources up for grabs and one has the last great land grab on Earth.

Continental Shelf mapping may not be as loud as an issue as climate change; however, it is just as political.

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