Denmark is making an interesting case for the North Pole today. The area is hotly contested as several countries, including Canada and Russia, lay claim to the energy-rich area.

So, why does Denmark think they have rights to the area? They say the 2,000 kilometer long underwater mountain range that stretches north of Siberia is a “natural extension of the Greenland shelf” according to Christian Marcussen, a geophysicist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.

Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory.

Denmark claims 556,463 square miles of the North Pole.

“The submission of our claim to the continental shelf north of Greenland is a historic and important milestone for the Kingdom of Denmark,” Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said in a statement. Check out the report here.

As Arctic ice retreats, access to these energy deposits and shipping lanes is opening up. That’s why several countries are vying for control of the area.

How much energy are we talking? A U.S. Geological Survey from 2008 estimates the Arctic could contain 30% of the Earth’s undiscovered natural gas. And, 13% of the oil.

Russia and Canada are said to be preparing their final bids. I would imagine Russia doesn’t like hearing Denmark say they outright own the North Pole.

Better watch out for some military flybys Denmark.

This isn’t the last word on North Pole ownership. Denmark already acknowledges that its claim overlaps one made by Norway. And, it is bound to overlap with upcoming claims from Canada and Russia.

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