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Author Topic: Article about height of Everest  (Read 5556 times)

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Article about height of Everest
« on: May 25 2003, 21:26 »

A nice short history about the height of Everest from www.sify.com. What still amazes is that the measurement of 1856 was only 8-10 meters off...

How tall is Everest? Debate on
Sunday, 25 May , 2003, 14:09
Kathmandu: Everest is not the most beautiful mountain in the world nor the most difficult to climb. It owes its full allure to its record height -- but on the 50th anniversay of its conquest, just how high it is remains disputed.
A century and a half ago, the geographers of British India determined that Everest -- named as such in the mid-1800s after the surveyor-general of India, George Everest -- was the tallest mountain in the world.

Employing trigonometry from the plains of India, they set Everest's height in 1856 at 8,840 meters.

After the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and the Nepalese Tenzing Norgay Sherpa conquered Everest on May 29, 1953, the altitude was adjusted up to 8,848 meters based on measurements taken at 12 points around the mountain.

That measurement is still used by the Nepalese government and appears on numerous maps.

But in 1999 the US National Geographic Society in the Boston Museum of Science reassessed Everest with the help of modern technology.

Studying the mountain for 50 minutes from its peak with the Global Positioning System, the researchers concluded the world's highest point was two meters higher up than previously thought, at 8,850 meters.

Their findings were accepted by cartographic societies in the United States and China. The scientists also found that Everest was moving horizontally, shifting six centimeters each year to the northeast.

But does the exact measurement of Everest make any difference? "The main conclusion (of the 1999 study) is that Everest is still the highest mountain in the world," said Harka Gurung, a former minister of education and tourism in Nepal who is a geographer and specialist on the Himalayas.

Nepal at the time feared it would have to cede the honor to Pakistan's K2, which at 8,611 meters is the world's second tallest mountain.

But Everest remains certified as the world's tallest peak -- and hence remains for many mountaineers the pinnacle of achievement.

The fascination Everest continues to generate is witnessed by the number of expeditions -- around 25 -- trying to reach the summit from the Nepalese route this season to celebrate the golden jubilee of the first ascent.

The government of Nepal, which is home to 10 of the world's 14 mountains of more than 8,000 meters, has been exploiting the anniversary to its maximum to bring back tourists who have been scared off in recent years by a Maoist insurgency.

Thankfully for authorities here, the rebels and the government have been observing a truce since January, lifting fears of violence during the Everest golden jubilee.

The Himalayas were formed 60 million years ago when the Indo-Australian tectonic plate smashed into Eurasia. And despite erosion, the world's highest mountain chain is continuing to grow -- twice as quickly as the Alps, Gurung said.

He ruled out Nepalese officials' position that Everest remains at 8,848 meters. "Nepal does not know anything. They should conduct their own survey but they are in no position to do so and stick to the Indian Survey" of the 1950s, Gurung said.

But, he stressed, more startling than changes in Everest's measurements may be how accurate the assessments were in the 19th century, as modern technology only puts them off by a matter of meters.

"No other mountain is higher than Everest," Gurung said. "That's the most important."

http://sify.com/news/othernews/fullstory.php?id=13156760
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"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

trunl

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Re:Article about height of Everest
« Reply #1 on: Oct 8 2003, 20:53 »

i cannot accept the 8850 measurment. i believe the mountain stands at 8848 meters and until i go up to the top and measure it myself with a high tech altitude watch, my opinion will not change.
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