Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Height of Everest

I sometime wonder if geodesists will ever agree on anything?  As long as I can geodetically remember there has always been a question mark over the height of Everest.

China and Nepal allegedly differ by 4m on the height (8844m compared to 8848m) and a new survey is meant to end it.  Mind you in 2004 the Chinese said it was 8848.5m having reduced from 8849.8m.  However this was to the ice and the 8844m is to the bedrock.  To be precise, they measure it was 8844.43m plus a 3.55m ice cap.  Helpfully the US National Geographic say it's 8850m.

If we assume we're pretty much agreed now on where the top is, it's where the bottom is which is now causing the issue.  The latest remeasuring is redefining the geoid but I've a feeling this won't be the end of it. 

Well, if the world stayed still for a moment it'd help but due to shifting tectonic plates, Everest grows by 4mm every year.

And does it really matter?

1 comment:

Ken said...

Interestingly - well I think so - it isn't very long ago that there was discussion on whether, in fact, the wold's second highest mountain, K2, actually eclipsed the height of Everest. Even more interestingly, K2 is so named because the Royal Engineer surveyor doing his plane-tabling so annotated it - as the second peak he sighted in the Karakoram range!