After years of international dispute over the matter, Mt. Everest, the Earth’s highest peak, was determined to be several feet taller than previously believed. She is taller but just as gorgeous as ever! Congrats, girlie! So happy for you!
The exact height of Everest — which stands at the border between Nepal and Tibet and is known in Nepal as Sagarmatha (“Goddess of the Sky”) and in Tibet as Qomolangma (“Holy Mother”) — has been the subject of debate for over a decade. As CNN reports, a 2005 survey of the mountain conducted by Chinese researchers concluded that it was about 29,015 feet tall. However, the survey was not authorized by Nepal, and the country did not recognize its findings. Instead, they used the figure determined by a 1955 Indian survey, which found the mountain’s height to be 29,029 feet tall.
The discrepancy in heights, the BBC explains, was explained in part by the different sea-level bases each study used (Nepal used the Bay of Bengal as its sea-level base, while China used the Yellow Sea in the eastern province of Shandong as theirs.)
After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, though, multiple scientific studies found that the powerful tremor may have changed the mountain’s elevation. China and Nepal collaborated to determine the peak’s exact height, and on Tuesday they jointly announced the new measurement: about 29,032 feet.
According to CNN, the height was calculated using a combination of data gathered from leveling instruments, gravity meters, and GPS. Signal receivers were placed at stations along the mountainside, and the team measured how long it took for signals to travel between stations and satellites. They also used trigonometry, calculating estimates for the peak’s height based on 12 different, lower peaks.
“The project was a matter of national pride for Nepal and a prestigious undertaking for the Nepali government. I feel very proud that we were able to complete it successfully,” Susheel Dangol, deputy director general at Nepal’s Department of Survey, told CNN. “Nepal and China jointly processed the surveyed data and came up with the result.”
The mountain herself has not indicated how she feels about her new three-to-17-foot height difference. According to the BBC, she might not be done growing yet; some have argued that Everest, like other Himalayan peaks, will continue to grow over time due to shifting tectonic plates. A tall queen, always learning, growing, getting taller … beautiful.