Ocean Floor Boundaries

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Science  13 Apr 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4389, pp. 135-144
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4389.135


The base of the continental slope, combined with the concepts of a boudary zone, a technical advisory boundary commission, and special treatment for restricted seas, offers a readily attainable, natural, practicable, and equitable boundary between national and international jurisdiction over the ocean floor. There is no point in bringing into the boundary formula the unnecessary added complication of thickness of sediments, as recently proposed. Review of the U.S. offshore brings out the critical importance with respect to energy resources of proper choice of boundary principles and proper determination of the base-of-continent line about our shores. The advice of the pertinent science and technology community should urgently be sought and contributed to decisions on offshore boundaries.