How did they measure the height of Mt. Everest?

Methods to measure the height of Everest have changed over time, from simple geometry in the past, to GPS more recently. A story in the NY Times, “How Tall Is Mount Everest? For Nepal, It’s a Touchy Question.” discusses the controversy over different results for the height of Everest, and a planned exepdition to measure it from the summit.

Estimates of the height of Everest vary:

“Today, Everest’s height is widely recognized as 29,029 feet. But teams from around the world, including China, Denmark, Italy, India and the United States, have come up with other calculations, which have sometimes strayed a little bit higher, or a little bit lower, than that figure. Italy, in 1992, lopped seven feet off the standard height, measuring it at 29,022 feet. In 1999, a measurement by American scientists pushed the peak a little higher, saying the mountain reached 29,035 feet.”

And the height can change:

Roger Bilham, a geologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, said Everest’s location in the zone of compression between southern Tibet and India means it sinks during earthquakes and rises in the period between them. A major earthquake in 1934 lowered the mountain by 63 centimeters, or about two feet, according to data provided by Mr. Bilham.

In the 19th century, the height of Everest was calculated by measuring the angles between the top of the mountain and points on the ground whose positions relative to the average height of the sea were already known.

Now, surveyors place a global positioning system receiver on the summit ice for an hour, and mathematically calculate the height of the sea from satellites and measurements of gravity at the base.

To prepare for the country’s own expedition, Nepali surveyors will collect measurements this month along the country’s southern plains, where they plan to calculate sea level. A team of Sherpas are also being trained to bring a GPS receiver to the summit. The cost to measure the mountain is estimated at $250,000.”

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Was this information new to you? Did you know that the height of Everest is changing?

#Geography #Quora


What are your thoughts on this subject?
Carolyn Kennedy
Marjorie Healey, The snow blows off the summit. You can actually see it on a clear day. X
Mar 6, 2020 8:04AM
For 250.000 I will tell you right now.
Dec 17, 2019 5:13PM
who’s gonna pay the bill? who else the paparazzi.(just joking)
Sep 25, 2019 2:39AM
Carolyn Frederick
Chrissy Krainock Luders, You try hiking to 29,000 feet
Jul 16, 2019 8:39PM
Try a get to the top. Trust me. It's a trip you will never forget.
Jul 13, 2019 6:06PM
Michael Doherty
kandarpoza, Ken Jackson is correct. Mauna Kea is measured from the ocean floor at over 30,000 feet, but it is only 13,800 above sea level, making it taller than Everest but not higher.
Apr 20, 2019 6:03PM
Ken Jackson, Can you explain the difference between "tallest" and "highest"? Thanks.
Apr 17, 2019 12:00AM
Ken Jackson
Marian Spitzig, No - but Everest isn't the tallest mountain, it's the highest. There is a difference. The tallest mountain is Mauna Kea on Hawaii.
Feb 14, 2019 12:49PM
Richard Perkins
Who is going to pay that $250,000?
Jan 16, 2019 9:30AM
Jacky Pierce Friedman
Very cool info
Dec 23, 2018 10:18PM
Don Racette
Marian Spitzig Your husband is contesting why you don't make him limberger cheese for dinner.
Dec 22, 2018 4:26PM
Peter Robertson
Interesting(or not) how many think the money should be spent on other things.Well you can make a start and give your money to the "poor" but mankind didn't progress by not doing things.They want to measure it for the same reason they want to climb it."Because it's there" .If you think there are more important things to do,give us a rundown on your day and we'll judge if you're useful to mankind!
Dec 17, 2018 4:49PM
Roy Choularton
Still don’t want to climb it
Dec 11, 2018 5:18AM
Christopher Ridings
Mt Everest actually is growing owing to the Indian subcontinent still pushing itself into Southern Asia.
Dec 9, 2018 1:00AM
Johnny Gio I know -better, hope- you're joking. But cloth tape would measure the length of the incline, not the height of the top above sea level. LOL!
Nov 27, 2018 11:13AM

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