News: A Chinese team of climbers is making its way to the peak or top of Mount Everest this week to measure whether it has grown or lost some of its height. The mountain remains shut to other climbers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Did you know that the Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level? In China the locals call the mountain Mt. Qomolangma, Goddess Mother of Mountains.
Why are they measuring the summit?
Mt. Everest sits on a major fault line between two tectonic plates. India is on one plate, which frequently collides against another that carries Europe and Asia. The Himalayas have been created by this constant collision over millions of years. The collision of the plates results in frequent earthquakes even today. A large earthquake in Nepal in 2015 is believed to have altered the mountain’s height.
What is the widely recognised height of Mt. Everest? The widely recognised height is 8848m above sea level, recorded in 1954 during an Indian expedition.
Mt. Everest sits at the border of China and Nepal. China and Nepal disagree on how high the peak is. In the past China has conducted several assessments of the mountain, recording its height at 8848.13m in 1975 with the snow cap and 8844.43m in 2005 without the snow cap. Nepal believes the peak to be higher and conducted its own survey in 2019. These results haven’t been declared yet.
Next Steps: The Chinese team plans to summit on May 22, 2020. Their measurements will give us another set of findings and hopefully end the debate!
Ironically, this photo was taken exactly one year ago on May 22, 2019.
The famous photo taken on May 22, 2019 of traffic approaching the summit of Mount Everest. Photo Credit: Nirmal Purja, @nimsdai, Project Possible