A group of Siberian scientists has claimed that the Mendeleev Ridge in the Arctic Ocean is part of Russia's continental shelf, paving the way for a Russian claim to vast mineral resources found in the Arctic.
Scholars from the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics found that the ridge's geological composition was not oceanic and concluded that it belonged to the continental shelf, Itar-Tass reported. The area is believed to hold large hydrocarbon deposits.
Valery Vernikovsky, the head of the institute's geodynamics and paleomagnetism laboratory, told reporters on Tuesday that the next step to expand Russia's Arctic jurisdiction to the Mendeleev Ridge was to appeal to the United Nations.
Russia had appealed to the UN in 2001 to claim the Lomonosov Ridge, which extends from the Arctic to the North Pole. The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf at the time requested that Russia provide further evidence to bolster its claim that the ridge was part of its continental shelf. Norway, Canada, Denmark and the United States have also made claims to the area.
In March, the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf recognized the Sea of Okhotsk enclave as part of Russia's continental shelf, giving the country exclusive rights over this 52,000 square kilometer area.