FEB 01, 2017 08:08 AM PST

How Tall Is Everest?

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How tall is Mount Everest? Well, that depends on who you ask. In 1955 the official height was recorded at 8,848 meters. After the 2015 Nepal earthquake, geologists were concerned landslides and plate movement may have made the mountain shorter. A team from India's government survey agency will be going to the summit to measure exactly how high it is, and if the quake caused any changes. They will be using GPS signals passed between their camp on the summit and satellites that orbit the area. There's a tight margin of error too, just one centimeter.

Those numbers will be crunched and then compared to figures that were obtained via triangulation methods. This is considered the "old fashioned" way with protractors and telescopes that measure angles. Right now there is no set date to begin the expedition; much depends on weather and climbing conditions. Even without new measurements there is some debate about the height. While the 1955 numbers are seen as official, a team from the United States calculated the height at 8,850 meters in 1999 and a Chinese expedition put it at 8,844 meters in 2005. Stay tuned.
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  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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