Based on parallel surveys in these countries, as scientists and cartographers prepare to analyze the results, new altimeter measurements have not yet been determined.
The altitude of the highest point on the earth has been announced. According to the survey results released today, Mount Everest is 2,9031.69 feet above sea level. This is 2 feet higher than the height previously approved by the Nepalese government.
The Nepalese Ministry of Research and the Chinese authorities announced this altitude in a joint statement issued on December 8. This is the final result of a multi-year project that will ultimately measure this legendary mountain. As the first serious study of Mount Everest in 16 years, this work has been closely monitored by the geographic community, especially when scientists investigated how the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 2015 affected the area. (Learn why the height of Mount Everest is changing.)
Last spring, a small group of Nepalese surveyors and guides withstood a severe test during the night ascent and reached the summit at 3 in the morning. Local time so that they can work unimpeded without being welcomed by climbers to solve problems. (Understand exactly how the team took the actions and challenges they encountered during the expedition.)
Khimelal Gautam, the project’s survey manager, told National Geographic magazine last year: “We want to convey information and we can use our (national) resources and technical staff to do something.”
In 1856, the mathematician Radhanath Sickdhar discovered that Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world during the “Great Triangulation”. The project is dedicated to the topography and mapping of the Indian subcontinent. Since then, few surveys have tried to determine the true height of the mountain using the best technology available at the time.
Before satellites, surveyors used a device called theodolite (a precision optical instrument mounted on a tripod) to measure the angle between two specific points. The inspection team moved heavy equipment from the mountain to the mountain, and gradually measured the height of Mount Everest from the sea level, bending north from the Bay of Bengal so that they could see the top of the mountain.
According to a survey conducted in 1954 using similar technology, Mount Everest is located at an altitude of 29,028 feet, and many countries and map publishers still know this number.
Then, in 1999, a survey sponsored by the National Geographic Society and conducted by cartographer and explorer Bradford Washburn (Bradford Washburn) first used GPS technology to measure Mount Everest. The team’s work resulted in a height of 29,035, which was used until the association fully verified the new measurement results.
In order to make the new investigation as complete as possible, the Nepal team decided to use both techniques. On May 22, 2019, Gautam and four colleagues reached the summit of Mount Everest and deployed GPS receivers and ground-penetrating radars to measure the depth of snow accumulated on the rocks. At the same time, a team of surveyors overlooked the top of Mount Everest at eight locations, waiting to use modern theodolite lasers to determine the altitude at sunrise.
However, after the Nepal Survey Department completed the fieldwork last year, the project began to get involved in international politics. During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Nepal in October 2019, officials announced that the two countries would cooperate to re-examine the mountain, which would delay the disclosure of the new height. This spring, a team of Chinese surveyors was on the north side of the mountain, using the Chinese Beidou satellite network (in competition with GPS) to survey the top of the mountain.
Now that the results have been announced, the representatives of the two countries are full of confidence in the new heights. But Gautam was quick to point out that regardless of its accuracy, every survey carries a certain margin of error.