In the backdrop of a long-running conflict over Mount Everest’s height, Nepal and China have jointly announced the revised height of the world’s highest peak as 8,848.86m. The new height is 86cm more what has been recognised since 1954.
The announcement was broadcast live on national television in Nepal and is the culmination of an exhaustive process involving two trips to the summit and years of measurements to calculate Everest’s precise height above sea level.
Susheel Dangol, Nepal’s chief survey officer, said: “We can be confident that this is the most accurate height of Everest that we have ever had. It was a huge responsibility on our part. It is a moment of great pride for us.”
The Nepal government spent $1.10m to conduct surveys prior to determining the height of the highest peak. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli while congratulating the citizens said: “Nepal gains new height along with Mount Everest.”
Some geologists have suggested a major earthquake in 2015 may have had an impact on Mount Everest’s height. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people in Nepal and caused an avalanche, which buried parts of the base camp. At least 18 climbers were killed.
Scientists also found some other Himalayan peaks, mostly to the north of Kathmandu and close to the epicentre, had reduced in height by approximately a metre after the quake.
Ever growing and shrinking
According to reports by National Geographic, the collision that formed Everest continues even today. India creeps northward a couple of inches each year and scientists estimate that the ongoing impact with Eurasia might force the mountains to ever greater heights.
Significance to India
The historic declaration is being lauded by both China and Nepal, with the latter calling Mount Everest as an “age-old symbol” of the ties with China, marking it as the beginning of a new era of strategic partnership.
The growing footprint of China in Nepal, coupled with its strengthening diplomatic ties with the Himalayan nation may be a cause of concern for India. While India and Nepal have always maintained peace and diplomacy via a multitude of treaties and agreements, recent years have seen Indo-Nepalese relations deteriorate.
More or less, the revised height of Mount Everest puts an end to the decades-long dispute between the two neighbours on the height of the world’s tallest mountain that straddles their shared border.