Height of Mt Everest

  • Almost a year after China and Nepal together decided to re-measure the elevation of the world’s highest mountain, the two countries are soon expected to announce its latest official height.
  • 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 – 8,848m – 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.
  • Everest was first scaled in 1953 by the Indian-Nepalese Tenzing Norgay and New Zealander Edmund Hillary.

       Why is the height being measured again?

  • 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.
  • For years, Nepal and China disagreed over the issue, which was resolved in 2010 when China accepted Nepal’s claim of the snow height being 8,848m, while the Nepali side recognised the Chinese claim of the rock height at 8,844.43m.
  • A reason behind the joint effort is that previous measurements of the mountain were by Indian, American or European surveyors, and that the joint effort represents national pride for Nepal and China who will now come up with their own figure.
  • Both teams are using different points of reference for sea level – China using the Yellow sea and Nepal using a point close to the Bay of Bengal coast.