WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Canadian and U.S. icebreakers will be mapping the arctic sea floor to help settle how much of it each country can claim as its own, officials say.
The U.S. icebreaker Healy sailed Monday to join the Canadian Coast Guard ship Louis S. St-Laurent at sea, where the ships will take turns breaking through the arctic sea ice for each other, LiveScience.com reported.
The Healy will map the shape of the sea floor while the Canadian ship will measure sediment thickness.
International law gives coastal nations rights to natural resources within 200 nautical miles from their coast.
This includes the seabed and subsoil — and all the minerals, petroleum and animals in and on their slice of the continental shelf.
The new map generated by the U.S.-Canadian mission will let both countries know if and how far they can extend their reach, Brian Edwards, chief scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey aboard the Healy, said.
This is the third year of U.S. and Canadian collaboration, a USGS spokeswoman said.
“The Arctic Ocean is an area of great interest for science, resource conservation, and possible economic development,” Deborah Hutchinson said.
“Because there is an area with considerable overlap between the U.S. and Canadian extended continental shelves, it makes sense to share data sets and work together in the remote and challenging environments of the Arctic Ocean,” she said.
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