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The way I read it, they were applying pre-existing formulas based on new research, NOT inventing new definitions.

The only really noteworthy thing in this news for me is that four countries managed to hand in a joint request, rather than battling it out over who gets what part of this legalese-shelf.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 01:39:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...I never argue that re-inventing definitions was their tool. I was having difficulties with which definition meant what.

Yet their argument that within their legal definitions the areas highlighted by their research belongs to the shelf is laughable in itself. The fact that it was a multi-country effort may add weight to the impact factor, but it does nothing to the reasoning underneath as I understand it right now.

by Nomad on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:29:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
their argument that within their legal definitions the areas highlighted by their research belongs to the shelf is laughable in itself.

Why? If a pre-existing internationally agreed (rather than "their") legal definition of shelf was used, then it is not laughable by default.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 02:33:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...their argument isn't within the definition of shelf, but to apply the decisive marker to an area where it is highly doubtable it is applicable. Sediment extensions situated onto the abyssal plain do not constitute a continental slope. The pfd claims they do.

I read on a USGS website that coastal nations can decide their territorial claims of their continental shelf outside the 200 nautical miles based on 1) bathymtery and 2) geology, activating the Gardiner formula in the latter case. Nations can not extent their territory 60 nm beyond the continental slope (Hedberg formula). The range of the continental slope is then based on 1) the depth of the water column and 2) the amount of the sediment present on the floor.

The pdf stacks all of it on the Gardiner formula serving as the black-and-white line whether there's enough sediment present to make it part of the continental slope. If there's more than 1 percent sediment, it must be continental slope, so it belongs under definition so much and so forth (and hence it belongs to us). While wondering if that's a smart definition, applying it in this setting is bizarre. The points they use (FOS 1, 4 and 5, figure 2 in the pdf) are anomalies on the abyssal plain, either remnants of the original shelf during continental breakup or possibly alluvial fan deposits, I can't tell from one pretty picture. They are even disconnected from the slope. Since there's no single word on bathymetry in the submission, I suspect there's no legal ground for that  (which is logical because they work on, I repeat, on the abyssal plain).

Let me therefore say it again: this is a joke. They're applying this Gardiner formula on areas that do not form in any way, in any part the continental slope. In that sense, they do rewrite definitions and remake reality.

If that makes them to the letter of their pretty agreements right, so what. I don't go there, that's not where I'm trained in. But if these guys have to muscle it out with a geologist, they get laughed out of court.

by Nomad on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 08:24:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if these guys have to muscle it out with a geologist, they get laughed out of court.

I'm beginning to lose all respect for the Hesperides oceanographic boat. I suppose the State is no different than Big Pharma, Big Oil or Big Tobacco when it comes to forcing the scientists they sponsor to fix the facts around the policy.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 8th, 2006 at 05:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is missing from my rather snippy post of yesterday night is that I think that some of the nations have a legitimate claim to at least part of the proposed area, under the sets of formulas and agreements outlined above. But as it is, it looks like a brazen attempt to suck dry the definition of any moisture.
by Nomad on Thu Jun 8th, 2006 at 04:15:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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