A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2015 Apr 9, 13:35 -0700
Gary LaPook, you wrote:
"But the EEZ is at a defined radius of 200 NM surrounding a piece of dry land, no land, no EEZ, no wealth."
Exactly. Shallows, even those that are exposed at some low tide state, do not count. But dry land, even constructed land, does count. The motive here is clear. There are other claims that can be made in territorial waters, and China is pursuing those in the Spratly Islands, but the EEZ is key.
Also in terms of nautical charting, we are in a bizarre era where deep sea contours are sometimes given the same priority as shallows that could scrape the centerboard of a Beetle cat. Who among surface mariners would ever gain any benefit from knowing that they are passing over a 2000 meter depth contour? Yes they are mapped in detail in many modern products. There's a "democracy" of depth contours in many products that's pointless and sometimes misleading. Anything deeper than 50 or maybe 100 meters is Davy Jones' locker. It all changes, though, as soon as there's a bit of dry land. Dry land is charted in a radically different way from water that's shallow enough to wade in.
Bill mentioned that some parts of Chicago are built on reclaimed land -- quite true including some very high value real estate! But it's actually quite a small area by historical measures. Among US cities, Boston probably gets the prize. The famous "Back Bay" section of town really was a "back bay" (a shallow tidal basin actually used for tide power in the 19th century) before it was filled and developed. And that's just the most obvious part of a city that has expanded dramatically onto former tidal flats. Globally most large cities on coasts have big areas "reclaimed" from the sea. Modern airports, especially, are usually built on reclaimed land. The grand prize, as always, remains with the Dutch. Huge sections of the modern Netherlands have been reclaimed from the sea or from numerous small to medium-sized lakes --if you've ever flown into Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport sits on the former "Harlemermeer" which was a large lake by the mid 19th century.