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Russian Scientists To Study In Detail North Pole Expedition Samples

Russian adventurer and Duma deputy Artur Chilingarov (1R), arrives in Moscow, 07 August 2007. Chilingarov and a team of explorers returned from an expedition to the North Pole where they planted a flag in the seabed in a pair of mini-submarines at a depth of 4,261 meters (13,980 feet).The expedition aimed to establish that a section of seabed passing through the North Pole, known as the Lomonosov Ridge, is in fact an extension of Russia's land mass, bolstering Moscow's claims to the mineral riches below. Photo courtesy AFP.

Russian expedition planted Abkhazia flag on Arctic seabed
MOSCOW/SUKHUMI, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - The flags Russia planted on the seabed under the North Pole included an Abkhazian flag, as the self-proclaimed republic of Georgia helped organize the expedition, the mission leader said Wednesday. "An Abkhazian representative, Dmitry Purim, was a member of our expedition," said Artur Chilingarov, also a Russian member of parliament. "He raised the flag of the republic." Russia's relations with Abkhazia have angered Georgian authorities who are seeking to regain control over the unrecognized republic. Georgia has accused Russia of fuelling separatist sentiments in Abkhazia. Chilingarov said tens of other flags representing different regions and organizations involved in the expedition had been hoisted in the area almost simultaneously. Last Thursday, Russian researchers made the first-ever dive below the North Pole in two mini-submarines, taking rock samples from the seabed to gather proof that Russia's continental shelf stretches out from Siberia into the Arctic across the Pole, and thereby claim the resource-rich territory.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 09, 2007
Studying the geological samples taken from the North Pole seabed during Russia's symbolic expedition last week could take six months, a Russian Academy of Sciences spokesman said Wednesday. Russian researchers descended 4,200 meters (14,000 feet) below the Pole in two submersibles last Thursday to gather evidence to bolster the country's claim to a vast swathe of extra Polar territory - a mission fueling national pride at home but attracting criticism from rival Arctic powers.

Yury Leonov, secretary of the academy's Department of Earth Sciences, told a news conference: "Studying the rock samples will take six months, as scientists will have to determine rock composition, formation time and the presence of organic residue."

But Leonov admitted: "these probes were insufficient, and can only be regarded as a part of the research." He said more studies involving other methods were required to back the claim that the underwater Lomonosov mountain chain, discovered by Russia, is a continuation of the country's landmass. He said Russia does have some scientific data in favor of the claim.

In 2001, Russia said it was entitled to an extra 1.2 million square kilometers (460,000 square miles) of territory believed to contain vast oil and gas reserves and other mineral riches likely to become accessible in future decades due to man-made global warming. The UN demanded more evidence.

Speaking at the news conference, Russia's veteran explorer and lawmaker Artur Chilingarov, who led the mission, described it as a "patriotically-tinted geographical expedition."

As well as collecting geological samples, the explorers planted a titanium Russian flag on the seafloor.

Chilingarov said for him it was "a crazy, incredibly difficult decision to order the descent," and confessed he had left a death note for his family on the Akademik Fedorov research vessel, which brought the mini-submarines to the Pole.

He said that judging by the government's growing interest in the Arctic, Russia would probably step up research in the region.

Russia's Arctic stunt has provoked irritation from Canada, which has also claimed part of the Arctic shelf since 1925, and the United States, prompting the countries to raise spending on their Arctic fleets. Washington also plans to sign the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which sets out legal rules for all activities in the oceans and seas.

Under the Convention, the five Arctic Circle countries - the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia - each have a 322-kilometer (200-mile) economic zone in the Arctic Ocean at the moment.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Russia Guided By International Law In Its Polar Shelf Probe
Manila (RIA Novosti) Aug 07, 2007
Russia is guided by international law in its polar shelf probes, the country's foreign minister told a news conference Friday. "When explorers reach an unexplored point they leave flags there," Sergei Lavrov said, commenting on Thursday's probe into the North Pole shelf where Russian researchers left a flag. "No one is throwing flags around." Canada, which has claimed part of the Arctic shelf since 1925, came down on Russia's expedition, saying Russia sets up shelf borders using 15th century methods.

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