Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


This thesis provides a seaward delimitation of United States jurisdiction over the mineral resources of its continental shelf. It does not set lateral maritime boundaries between the United States and its neighbors. Despite the abundance of literature regarding the continental shelf concept, United States shelf limits have not been demarcated in any precise detail. In order to encourage efficient utilization of offshore mineral resources and to avoid unnecessary legal problems, such determination is important. Initially, the conflicting conceptions of the geological and legal continental shelf are discussed. The evolution of the continental shelf as both a physical feature of the earth's crust and a legal political doctrine is traced through the first three chapters. The fourth chapter examines the current definition of the continental shelf in detail, suggesting amendments and revisions where found necessary.