Nepal and China to jointly declare new height of Everest

The Nepali government's efforts to measure the height had come amid speculations that the mountain shrunk after an earthquake in 2015 - AFP

KATHMANDU (Xinhua): The world will soon know the new height of Mount Qomolangma as Nepal's Cabinet decided on Wednesday (Nov 25) to announce the height of the world's tallest peak jointly with China, a senior Nepali Cabinet minister said.

As agreed between Nepal and China in October last year, both countries will jointly declare the height and conduct scientific research of Mount Qomolangma, known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and Everest in the west.

After Nepali and Chinese surveyors completed the measurement process of the world's highest mountain, preparation was made to announce its new height.

Mount Qomolangma remains a shared treasure of Nepal and China.

"The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday approved my proposal regarding jointly declaring the height of Mount Everest (Qomolangma)," Padma Kumari Aryal, Nepali Minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, told Xinhua.

"The two sides have already reached a conclusion on the height of the mountain. We plan to declare the height within a month."

But they are yet to decide regarding in what forum the height will be declared.

Nepali surveyors had reached the top of the mountain in May 2019 to conduct measurements.

A team of Chinese surveyors also climbed Mount Qomolangma in May this year. According to the Nepali officials, there have been communications between the two sides regarding the height of the mountain.

The Nepali government's efforts to measure the height had come amid speculations from some scientists that the world's tallest mountain had shrunk after Nepal's devastating earthquake in 2015. It was the first time Nepal itself measured its height.

Nepal has been recognising the height of 8,848m, as measured by the Survey of India in 1954.

In 1975, Chinese surveyors measured Mount Qomolangma as standing 8,848.13m above sea level, which was recognised by the international community.

In this survey, the Chinese team, for the first time erected a survey marker atop the summit, allowing six survey points at the foot of the mountain to simultaneously measure the height of the peak.

In 2005, China remeasured the elevation of Mount Qomolangma by combining traditional geodetic methods and satellite technologies.

After measuring the depth of the snow cap atop the summit, the survey registered the summit's rock height as 8,844.43m and its ice-snow layer at 3.5m deep. There was 1m of unknown material, probably a mixture of ice and gravel, between the rock head and the snow cap.

In 1999, the US National Geographic Society and Boston's Museum of Science measured the height of the peak at 8,850m.

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