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Blasting the final frontier
Description: Scientists are using dynamite to map the Arctic seabed in a push to claim valuable new territory for Canada. KATHERINE HARDING reports from Ellesmere Island
Date: 12 May 2006
Author: Katherine Harding
Source: The Globe and Mail
Scientists are using dynamite to map the Arctic seabed in a push to claim valuable new territory for Canada. KATHERINE HARDING reports from Ellesmere Island



CFS ALERT, NUNAVUT -- It's a frustratingly quiet day for the Bombing Lady.

"Too much snow -- we aren't going anywhere today. You can't even see the horizon," Canadian marine geologist Ruth Jackson sighs as a spring blizzard blankets the world's most northerly permanent settlement.

Normally, Dr. Jackson, who received her nickname from people at Canadian Forces Station Alert, would be bundled up in a parka and mukluks as she directs dynamite explosions a few hundred kilometres south of the North Pole. She is leading a one-time push to add valuable maritime territory to Canada's stock of real estate.

When the $69-million project is completed, likely in seven years, Dr. Jackson, who works for the Geological Survey of Canada, and a team of scientists hope to have laid an initial claim to areas that equal the size of the three prairie provinces: 1.7 million square kilometres.

"Here is a historic chance to increase the size of Canada without going to war," she says of their patriotic quest to map some of the world's last frontiers...


Michael Byers, a professor of international law at the University of British Columbia, expects that because this particular area could be so valuable, Canada will probably have to settle sovereignty disputes with other nations in the future, regardless of the technical data Dr. Jackson and her team collect...


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