Climbers take a note now, Mount Everest just got a little taller. On Tuesday, China and Nepal announced that the world’s highest peak is officially now equal to 8,848.86 meters or 29,031.69 feet above the sea level.
During a joint news conference on Tuesday, Chinese and Nepalese officials based in Beijing and Kathmandu, announced a revision to the height of Mount Everest. Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari said, “Indeed, completing this important task with our own human resources and technical capacity is a significant achievement. While sharing this happy moment, I extend my sincere congratulations to the governments and peoples of both Nepal and China.” However, the difference between the old and new elevation is less than a meter.
However, Damodar Dhakal, Joint Secretary and spokesperson for Nepal’s Survey Department said, “We have used the previous methods applied in ascertaining the height as well as the latest data as well Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS). The fact that both Chinese and Nepali data tallied shows accuracy.”
According to the survey conducted by Survey of India in 1954, Mount Everest’s height is 8,848 meters, which is accepted by all references worldwide- except China. Another survey sponsored by the National Geographic Society, US in 1999, claimed the height as 29,035 feet (nearly 8,850m).
The mountain has always been a subject of debate. Following the earthquake of April 2015, Nepal’s Survey Department decided to measure the mountain instead of following the Survey of India’s finding. New Zealand agreed to share technical assistance. In 2019, the New Zealand government shared a Global Navigation Satellite and trained technicians to Nepal’s Survey Department to complete the mountain mission.
Meanwhile, China has done its measurement works separately. They completed their measurement survey early this year. Nepal had completed the measurement early last year. But a team of 120 field workers and data analysts took four months to complete the data processing and computing results. Also, the pandemic disrupted and delayed their works.
Interestingly, it is believed that the height of Mount Everest will continue to increase till the area assumes tectonic stability or isostatic equilibrium. It will increase its size until its root reaches such a depth as to balance its mass or the more decadent Indian plate stops moving into the Asiatic one.