Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Harsh K. Gupta

Legal Continental Shelf: Geology, Geophysics, and Tectonics

  • Elana GeddisEmail author
  • Ray Wood
  • Vaughan Stagpoole
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10475-7_285-1

Synonyms

Definition

The legal continental shelf comprises the submerged prolongation of the land mass of a State beyond 200 nautical miles (M) from the territorial sea baselines, consisting of the seabed and subsoil of the shelf, the slope, and the rise. Formulae to determine the outer limits of the legal continental shelf are in Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Application of the Article 76 definition frequently turns on an understanding of the geology, geophysical structure, and tectonic evolution of the sea floor.

Introduction

A State has exclusive rights over the seabed resources of its legal continental shelf as the natural prolongation of its land territory. The assertion of those rights is an inherent entitlement, not a claim.

In 1982 UNCLOS imposed a legal framework on the scientific concept of the continental shelf, creating a clear...

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Bibliography

  1. Brekke H, Symonds P (2011) Submarine ridges and elevations of Article 76 in light of published summaries of recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. J Ocean Dev Int Law 42:289–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (1999) Scientific and technical guidelines of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS/11). https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/commission_documents.htm. Accessed 31 July 2019
  3. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (2008) Recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in regard to the submission made by Australia on 15 November 2004. https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/submission_aus.htm. Accessed 31 July 2019
  4. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (2010) Summary of recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in regard to the submission made by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in respect of Ascension Island on 9 May 2008. https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/submission_gbr.htm. Accessed 31 July 2019
  5. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (2012) Summary of recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in regard to the submission made by Japan on 12 November 2008. https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/submission_jpn.htm. Accessed 31 July 2019
  6. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (2016) Summary of recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in regard to the submission made by Iceland in the Ægir Basin area and in the western and southern parts of Reykjanes Ridge on 29 April 2009. https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/submission_isl_27_2009.htm. Accessed 31 July 2019
  7. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (2019) Summary of recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in regard to the submission made by Norway in respect of Bouvetøya and Dronning Maud Land on 4 May 2009. https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/submission_nor_30_2009.htm. Accessed 31 July 2019
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  9. Wood R, Henrys S, Stagpoole V, Davy B, Wright I (2011) Legal continental shelf. In: Encyclopedia of solid Earth geophysics, 1st edn. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harbour ChambersWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.CRP-OCS LtdHaumoanaNew Zealand
  3. 3.GNS ScienceLower HuttNew Zealand