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Has Mount Everest Shrunk After The Devastating Earthquake In Nepal? Survey of India To Soon Find Out

After a month of observation and 15 days of computation.

25/01/2017 10:21 AM IST | Updated 25/01/2017 10:44 AM IST
Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

HYDERABAD -- The height of Mount Everest will soon be "re-measured" by the Survey of India to determine whether the world's tallest peak has really shrunk following a devastating earthquake in Nepal two years ago.

An expedition from the Survey of India would depart for Nepal in two months to conduct the exercise that comes in the backdrop of doubts expressed by section of the scientific community about the shrinking of the towering mountain peak. Mount Everest officially stands at 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) above sea level.

The project, for which required sanctions have been obtained, would help the future scientific studies as well, Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao said here today.

"We are sending an expedition to Mount Everest. Everest's height was declared, if I remember correctly, in 1855. Many others also measured it. But the height given by Survey of India, even today, is taken as the correct height. It is 29,028 ft," he said.

"We are re-measuring it. It is almost two years since the major Nepal earthquake. After that, there is a doubt in the scientific community that it is shrinking. That is one of the reasons. Second reason is, it helps in scientific studies, plate movements etc," he said.

All the necessary approvals have been obtained for the expedition and the effort should begin in a month, he said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Geospatial World Forum.

"I have got all the approvals. MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) also done. If the Surveyor General of Nepal has come here (for the conference in Hyderabad), I will have a meeting with him. As I see it, we plan to send (the expedition team) in two months," he said.

The endeavour would take about a month for observation and another 15 days for computation and declaration of data, Rao added.

Rao told PTI the height of Mount Everest is planned to be measured this time by two methods-- using Global Positioning System(GPS) and a ground method.

"There are two methods. One is GPS. It is a survey instrument. It looks like a transistor. If you put it on the summit, say for 10 minutes, it tells you the height. That is one.

"The Second is, ground method. Triangulation. We observe. The height can be calculated from ground," he added.

Rao said the measurement is being done by the two methods for better confirmation of the findings.

"We are doing at the same time by both methods for better confirmation," he added.

A deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in 2015, killing thousands of people and altering the landscape across the Himalayan nation.

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