Denmark claims North Pole

Scientific data shows Greenland's continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving Danes a claim to the North Pole and any potential energy resources beneath it, Denmark says.

Points to subsea ridge connecting Arctic Ocean, Greenland

The Danes say Greenland's continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving them a claim to the North Pole. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Denmark says scientific data shows Greenland's continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving Danes a claim to the North Pole and any potential energy resources beneath it.

Denmark will deliver a claim on Monday to a United Nations panel in New York that will eventually decide control of the area, which Russia and Canada are also coveting, Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said.

Lidegaard told the Associated Press he hopes the other nations that also have made claims in the Arctic will continue to keep to "the rules of the game."

The United States, Russia, Norway, Canada and Denmark all have areas surrounding the North Pole, but only Canada and Russia had indicated an interest in it before Denmark's claim.

Last December, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Canada would make a claim to the extended continental shelf in the Arctic.

"We have asked our officials and scientists to do additional work and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada's claim to the North Pole," Baird said.

Rich potential

Countries that extend their Arctic claims under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea would tap into vast marine areas, potentially rich with oil and gas resources.

Canada signed UNCLOS in 2003, and has been working with the United States and Denmark to map parts of the Arctic seabed.

In March of 2009, Ron McNab, a retired researcher from the Geological Survey of Canada, said early data from those mapping efforts show that Denmark, via Greenland, may be able to claim the North Pole as its own.

"Preliminary work has shown — and this is, again, is very preliminary — that Denmark would actually have the strongest claim to encompass the North Pole within its region," McNab, who most recently served on the board of the Canadian Polar Commission, told CBC News in an interview.

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