- Recenty, Nepal and China jointly announced the new height of Mount Everest as 8,848.86 meters in a high-profile virtual ceremony, with their Presidents exchanging letters and their foreign ministers in attendance, all aimed at showcasing both a deepening strategic relationship and the amicable resolution of a long-running debate.
8,848 metres — the answer to one of the most widely popular quiz questions, and a number drilled into the minds of school students around the world for decades, is set for a revision, with the world’s tallest mountain getting a new official height on Tuesday that adds a few centimetres to its already lofty peak.
Why is the height being revised?
- The height of the summit, however, is known to change because of tectonic activity, such as the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
- Its measurement over the decades has also depended on who was surveying.
- Another debate is whether the height should be based on the highest rock point or the highest snow point.
Back to basics
About Mount Everest
- Mount Everest or Sagarmatha, Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, is located in the Himalayas between China and Nepal -– the border between them running across its summit point.
- Its current official elevation – 8,848.86m – places it more than 200m above the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, which is 8,611m tall and located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- The mountain gets its English name from Sir George Everest, a colonial-era geographer who served as the Surveyor General of India in the mid-19th century.
- Considered an elite climbing destination, Everest was first scaled in 1953 by the Indian-Nepalese Tenzing Norgay and New Zealander Edmund Hillary.
- Nepal used the Bay of Bengal as its sea level, but India had already surveyed a point closer to Everest, near the India-Nepal border, from the bay, and was able to provide the Nepalese surveyors with the height at that point.
Everest’s first survey
- The mission to measure the world’s highest peak was taken up on a serious note in 1847 and culminated with the finding of a team led by Andrew Waugh of the Royal Surveyor General of India.
- The team discovered that ‘Peak 15’ — as Mt Everest was referred to then — was the highest mountain, contrary to the then-prevailing belief that Mt Kanchenjunga (8,582 m) was the highest peak in the world.
- Another belief, prevailing even today, is that 8,840 m is not the height that was actually determined by the 19th-century team.
- That survey, based on trigonometric calculations, is known as the Great Trigonometric Survey of India.
Source: The Hindu
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