Canada–Federal officials have confirmed that Canada’s Arctic mapping flights have ventured beyond the North Pole into areas claimed by Russia. The flights are the first step towards building a case that Canada’s Arctic sovereignty could reach past the Pole despite Russia’s determination to extend its own northern footprint.
“We are surveying where appropriate to define the outer limits of Canada’s continental shelf,” Jacob Verhoef, the Natural Resources Canada geophysicist in charge of the project told.
Canada and Denmark recently completed a series of joint mapping flights from three remote northern airstrips to begin studying the series of undersea mountains and ridges that will determine how the United Nations will divvy up most of the Arctic Ocean.
Aerial mapping, which “reads” the seafloor by measuring minute changes in the earth’s gravitational field, must be backed up by extensive actual measurements. To that end, two miniature submarines are slated to be deployed under the ice by spring 2010.