(Source: TV 9, News & Current Affairs, youtube)
Facts and Figures about Benham Plateau.
According to the Wikipedia,
The Benham Plateau, also known as the Benham Rise, is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 km (160 mi) east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela.
Under the Philippine Sea lie a number of basins including the West Philippine Sea Basin, inside of which is located the Central Basin Fault (CBF). The Benham Plateau is located in the CBF and its basement probably is a micro-continent. Several scientific surveys have been made on the feature to study its nature and its impact on tectonic subduction, including one about its effects on the 1990 Luzon earthquake. The area is a territory of the Philippines which was claimed, as part of its continental shelf, which was then lodged with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on April 8, 2009 and was approved by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2012. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham_Plateau)
Benham Rise is a submerged extinct volcanic ridge located at 16 degrees 30 minutes N, 124 degrees 45 minutes E off the coast of Luzon, with the size of about 250 km in diameter and rises over 2,000 meters (2 km.) above the sea floor, from below 5,000 meters (5 km.) below sea level to above 3,000 meters (3 km.) below sea level. Its area is close to the Benham Seamount, located at 15 degrees 48 minutes N, 124 degrees 15 minutes E. The precise location is somewhere near the east of the Philippine Trench and near the south of the East Luzon Trench, both of which absorb the subducting force of thePhilippine Sea Plate under the Philippine Mobile Belt, a collage of large blocks of that crust that amalgamated prior to the collision of the Philippine Sea Plate with the Eurasian Plate.
The origin of the landform, along with a fellow landform, the Urdaneta Plateau (a remnant of mantle plume), is identified in one study as at least five sequences of propagating rifts, probably triggered by mantleflowing away from the mantle thermal anomaly. Its presence of the landform disrupts the continuity of this region (known as the Philippine-East Luzon Trench) by continuously colliding with the Sierra Madre mountain range of eastern portion of the island of Luzon. Though it is generally thought that the Philippine Sea Plate is being subducted under the Philippine Mobile Belt, under the rules of tectonic subduction, there appears to be a resistance to this because of the presence of the landform, and instead, the plate is being displaced into the northern portion of Luzon to the west. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham_Plateau)
The geophysical features of the plateau may have been the result of an early Miocene collision event between the Benham Rise and the eastern margin of Luzon, which may have also allowed the inception of the NW striking strand of the Philippine fault. These forces may have impacted the shape of the island of Luzon because of the basaltic sea floor resisting the subduction that may have also cause the bending of thePhilippine Fault. The active basins in Central Luzon, which trace an asymmetrical V shape, is the best place to observe recent tectonic evolution of the fault system.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham_Plateau)
The landform is presumably named after Admiral Andrew Ellicot Kennedy Benham (1832–1905) by American surveyors who were the probable discoverers of the geological feature. He was a United States Navyofficer, who served with both the South Atlantic and West Gulf Blockading Squadrons during the American Civil War. There has been speculation in the scientific community about the nature of the landform. Following the major 16 July 1990 Luzon earthquake, scientists reconsidered their fault models and decided it likely that Benham Plateau has similarly displaced the Philippine Fault System to the west. After analysing older models such as that of Pinet and Stephan (1989), scientists reconsidered their fault models. They thought that it is highly likely that the Benham Plateau is still displacing Central Luzon and the Philippine Fault System to the west, which may have had an impact in causing such a catastrophic earthquake. The 20 second to 50 second wave in the 1990 quake that developed a new east-west sub-fault was so strong that it terminated disastrously at the city of Baguio in Benguet, Cordillera. Several scientific surveys, conducted between 2004 and 2008, collected hydrographic data that determined the morphology of the seabed in the region. Additional data from international bathymetric surveys and an analysis of international research projects were collected to support the findings. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham_Plateau)
Benham Rise has been part of the culture of ancient Filipinos. Ancient Catanduanes people have fished and roamed the area long before the colonial era. In fact, it is celebrated in Catandunganons’ folktales, legends and poetry. Today, large percentage of fish caught by Catandunganon comes from Benham Rise. Its local bicol term is called Kalipung-awan (means loneliness in an isolated place). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham_Plateau)
Despite its proximity to the archipelago, the plateau was previously not included in the territory of the Philippines. On 8 April 2009, the Republic of the Philippines lodged a partial territorial waters claim with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in relation to the continental shelf in the region of Benham Rise. It was submitted as part of petition expanding the archipelago’s baselines and exclusive economic zone through a law that also included other claims involving disputed territories of the Kalayaan Islands (Spratly Islands) and Scarborough Shoal. Although the landform, in itself, is not disputed, the petition still received some criticism inside and outside the country because of its controversial nature. According to the government’s claim, based on a set of guidelines by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the area satisfies the 350-mile constraint line since the outer limits of the continental shelf are located landward of the constraint line, which is located 350 miles from the baselines where the measurement of the breadth of the territorial sea begins. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham_Plateau)
The Congress of the Philippines enacted Republic Act No. 9522, also known as the Archipelagic Baselines Law, which is the basis of the claim. According to the document the region is bounded by the Philippine Basin on the north and east, and by Luzon on the west and south. It asserted that, according to scientific data based on seismic, magnetic, other geological features, the Benham Rise is an extension of the Philippines’ continental shelf. In summary, the baselines, the basis used for delineating the maritime territorial and jurisdictional zones (including the continental shelf), conform with the requirements of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The claim is only a partial claim since the law that allows the Philippines to expand its territorial boundaries also includes islands in theSouth China Sea. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham_Plateau)
The Philippines filed its claim for Benham Rise in 2008 in compliance with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The UN has officially approved the claim in April 2012.
(Source: Rappler hosted by Maria Ressa, youtube)
According to the report mentioned by Pia Hontiveros, Benham Rise is a 13 million hectare sea bed off the coast of Aurora Province, Luzon, Philippines, that may potentially contain steel producing minerals and natural gas.
UPDATES dated March 15, 2017…the following news item taken from the website of CNN Philippines revealed that China respects the rights of the Philippine Government to its claim over the continental shelf at Benham Rise. It might be recalled that the continental shelf of the Benham Rise is contiguous to the mainland of Luzon, thus making it a rightful undersea “territory” of the Republic of the Philippines as approved by the United Nations in 2012. Here’s the Chinese press release and available on-line through CNN-Philippines’ website…here is the link…thank you.
UPDATES dated March 21, 2017.
The Philippines’ Legal Advisor based in The Hague, Netherlands, in the person of Paula Defensor-Knack stated on her FB page this opinion on Benham Rise, hereunder:
“This is the correct opinion on Benham Rise. I made it for Die Hard Fans of MDS so they know what to say when they meet an ignorant opponent online…
Benham Rise is not disputed territory. It is underwater, the ridge of a dormant volcano. The Spratlys on the other hand is disputed territory, it is a reef/ low elevation maritime feature. The ownership of the Spratleys is disputed because the arbitration tribunal could not rule on ownership of maritime features. No one owns Benham Rise but since it is continental shelf, it is in our economic zone though the continental shelf can be beyond the EEZ.” (Exclusive Economic Zone)
Updates on January 24, 2018.
On May 16, 2017, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the Executive Order No. 25 renaming the Benham Rise to Philippine Rise. We would like to request our readers to refer back to the opinions of Atty. Paula Defensor-Knack, the Philippines’ Legal Advisor to The Hague, The Netherlands, regarding Benham Rise. Her opinion is stated in the previous update. It says:
“Benham Rise is not disputed territory. It is underwater, the ridge of a dormant volcano. The Spratlys on the other hand is disputed territory, it is a reef/ low elevation maritime feature. The ownership of the Spratleys is disputed because the arbitration tribunal could not rule on ownership of maritime features. No one owns Benham Rise but since it is continental shelf, it is in our economic zone though the continental shelf can be beyond the EEZ.” (Exclusive Economic Zone).
Earthniversity shares this opinion and therefore it is safe to conclude that the area which is within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone can be “guarded” by the Philippine Government as its “protected food supply exclusive zone”.
In one occasion, China asks the permission of the Philippine Government to conduct research on Benham Rise, the area that is beyond the Philippines’ EEZ. Benham Rise or the Philippine Rise is “not a disputed territory”, according to Atty. Paula Defensor-Knack.
In one instance, the Philippine Government had asked China to allow the fishermen to fish in the West Philippine Sea to which China agreed. This area is a disputed territory because of the land mass appearing on the sea. Many countries claim islands and islets of this disputed area.
The Earthniversity does not own the articles, facts and figures stated in this post as well as the videos posted herein. The facts and figures about the Benham Plateau or Benham Rise had been taken from the Wikipedia. The link is herein stated for your reference. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benham_Plateau)
Thank you to Rappler’s Ms. Maria Ressa for the video they posted on youtube.
Thank you to TV 9 News and Current Affairs and Pia Hontiveros for the video they uploaded on youtube.
Thank you to The Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
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- For discussion purposes only.
Updated January 24, 2018.