The New Height of Mt. Everest in 2020: Standing Taller than Ever

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Nepal finally revealed the new height of Everest on December 8th, 2020. It is now 0.86m higher than before.

The new height of Mt. Everest is 8,848.86m (29,032 ft).

The announcement of Everest’s new height was a joint effort from both Nepal and China. Despite the fact that China’s previous measurement showed a mere 4.5m lower than that of Nepal’s.

Everest is situated on the Nepal and China border. Therefore, the measurement was initiated from both the countries with their own team of survey officials.

After the COVID lockdown, Nepal and China both restricted tourism or trekking activities in their respective countries. China’s survey team was the only group to climb Everest in 2020 in order to measure the new height of the Everest.

Why did the measurement start?

In 2015, Nepal dealt with a massive earthquake of 7.8 magnitudes. Destroying thousands of homes and taking away almost 9,000 lives. To this day, Nepal is recovering from the quake.

Along with millions in collateral damage, some geologists also suggested that the earthquake might have impacted Everest’s height. The geologists doubted the snow cap might have been shrunk.

After the earthquake, scientists found that some of the major Himalayan peaks had reduced in height, approximately a meter. While others suggested that the height of Everest might have been increased over the years due to the shifting of tectonic plates that the mountain sits on.

Nevertheless, the earthquake of 2015 was one of the major driving reasons for the measurement. 

How Nepal measured the new height of Everest?

Heights of mountains are usually measured with the mean sea level as the base. Therefore, the bottom level is more concerning than the actual top.

Nepal used the Bay of Bengal as the sea-level for the measurement of Everest. The Bay of Bengal lies near the India-Nepal border, which became one of the important factors needed for the measurement.

On the other hand, Chinese surveyors used the Yellow Sea in the eastern province of Shandong as the sea-level base for their measurement of Everest.

To obtain an even more precise result, the survey officials from Nepal used 12 lower peaks near the Everest summit as a reference for the trigonometry calculations.

China’s previous findings regarding the height of Mount Everest in 1975 and 2005 has now been updated with more precise figures. The survey team from China installed a Chinese version of a GPS as well, called the BeiDou navigation satellite system.

The Chinese used BeiDou whereas the Nepalese stuck with the US-owned Global Positioning System also known as GPS.

The final results have been announced and agreed upon by the representatives from both countries. The new height of Mt. Everest is now 8848.86m, standing taller than ever.