Nepal Is Remeasuring Mount Everest

REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

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Nepalese researchers are measuring Mount Everest to clear up international disagreement over the height of the mountain.

In a project that is set to cost approximately $250,000, researchers will spend a month determining the height by first measuring sea level and then will scale the mountain to place a GPS receiver at the top of the mountain for an hour, reported the Daily Mail on Monday.

The team will use satellites and gravitation measurements at the base to determine the height. Nepal is limiting international researchers, believing this is a form of national pride for their country by sending their own researchers, reported The Seattle Times. Nepal has never had its own team calculate the height until now.

“Mount Everest is our treasure,” said Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, a former director general of Nepal’s Department of Survey, according to the outlet. “What will happen if foreign experts continue to reduce the height of our mountain without us participating?”

This is the first measuring project since an earthquake in 2015 that scientists believed lowered the height of the mountain.

Research teams have disagreed over the height of Mount Everest.

Nepal first opened its borders to foreigners in the 1950s. Scientists determined the official mountain height at 29,029 feet, yet debate over the height has persisted. Disagreements consist of including the summit’s snowcap in measurements and also if the surveyors should drill into the peak’s rock base. The height can also change slightly due to earthquakes or wind speed that could affect how much snow is covering the peak.

Italian researchers found the height to be 29,022 ft. in 1992 and American researchers then found the peak to be 29,035 ft. in 1999. China claimed the mountain was 29,017 ft. in 2005, but retracted their calculations after a drop in a number of climbers on their side of the mountain.

The mountain, previously called Peak XV, was measured in 1856 by a group of Indian researchers who used a triangulation method to determine the height at 29,002 ft. Surveyor Sir George Everest led the research team and the mountain was renamed in his honor.

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