Did an earthquake alter its height?
Is the world’s tallest mountain really as big as we think it is?
That’s the question Nepalese authorities will try to answer after announcing they will measure the height of Mount Everest.
The peak, located in the Himalayas on the border between Nepal and China, is officially 8,848 metres tall.
But some observers believe a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 2015, which triggered a deadly avalanche at Everest base camp, may have put this in doubt.
The official height of the mountain – called into question by China – was established by an Indian study dating back to 1954.
“Nepal has never measured Everest even though it is located on its territory, so we want to prove to our people that the country is capable of measuring this summit,” said Ganesh Prasad Bhatta, who is heading up the government inquiry. “Concerns have been raised about the height of this summit after the 2015 earthquake, but this is not the only reason for our investigation.”
A team of Nepalese and international experts has begun to develop the methodology for this study, which is expected to take two years, added Bhatta.
Six years ago, Nepal assured it would measure the mountain again after a diplomatic clash with China, which claimed that the summit was four metres lower than the commonly accepted altitude.