Law of the Sea

U.S. UNCLOS Bathymetry Project

Arctic OceanGulf of AlaskaMendocino RidgeGulf of MexicoGulf of MexicoAtlanticAtlanticMarianasMarianasBering SeaNecker RidgeLine Islands

CCOM/JHC is collecting multibeam bathymetry and acoustic backscatter data that can be used to support an extended continental shelf under Article 76 of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The extensive seafloor mapping project grew out of an exhaustive desktop study of the U.S. bathymetry data holdings and identified several regions where new bathymetric surveys are needed (Mayer, et al., 2002). The report emphasized that multibeam echosounder data are needed to rigorously define (1) the foot of the slope (FoS), a parameter of both UNCLOS formula lines, and (2) the 2500-m isobath, a parameter of a UNCLOS cutoff line. Both of these features, the former a geomorphic feature and the latter a geodetic position, can be used to define an extended continental shelf claim.

For more information about the national effort to establish the full extent of the Continental Shelf of the United States visit the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project website.

Selected Publications

Challenges of Collecting Law of the Sea Data in the Arctic: The Arctic and Law of the Sea

L. A. Mayer, Jakobsson, M., and Hall, J. K., Challenges of Collecting Law of the Sea Data in the Arctic: The Arctic and Law of the Sea, in International Energy Policy, the Arctic and the Law of the Sea, 9th ed., no. M.H. Nordquist, J.N. Moore & A.S. Skaridov, Leiden, South Holland, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff legacy_publishers, 2005, pp. 125-140.

U.S. Law of the Sea Mapping

James V Gardner, Mayer, L. A., and Armstrong, A. A., U.S. Law of the Sea Mapping, Hydro International, vol. 9. Geomatics Information & Trading Center - GITC, Lemmers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 42-45, 2005.