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India, Nepal to remeasure Mount Everest

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-04-2017 Prerna Kapoor

New Delhi: Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, is to be measured afresh in a joint exercise by India and Nepal.

The exercise is being undertaken to address doubts expressed in some quarters to the effect that the mountain’s height may have been clipped after the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015.

Currently, its height is pegged at 8,848 metres or 29,029 feet above sea level.

The partners in this project are India’s ministry of science and technology, the Survey of India (SOI) and the government of Nepal. It will use new measurement tools developed by SOI.

ALSO READ : The challenges of measuring Mount Everest

“The exercise will be done with the help of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Then a correction will be applied with the help of the newly created INDGEOID Version 1.0 model... which measures the height above mean sea level, so as to provide the accurate height of the mountain,” said Dr Swarna Subba Rao, surveyor general, SOI.

INDGEOID Version 1.0 is a new mathematical model which was launched by SOI on Monday.

It measures the height of objects above mean sea level and is considered superior to the earlier methodology based on GPS satellites.

According to Rao, INDGEOID gives the exact height of an object as it corrects for errors that arise while using GPS.

“The process has been started through diplomatic channels,” Rao said, without mentioning a time frame by when the exercise would be completed.

“I am very enthusiastic about this new INDGEOID version 1.0 model. This is likely to reduce errors arising out of the GPS (technology),” said S. Mukherjee, professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Mint on 21 December traced SOI’s experience of measuring the Himalayan mountain.

In 1856, nine years after it was first discovered, its height was confirmed and it was named Mount Everest—after George Everest, the former surveyor general.

The April 2015 earthquake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and epicentred northwest of Kathmandu, flattened buildings and structures across the country and left over 9,000 people dead.

Scientists claimed that this had led to the height of Mt Everest shrinking by a metre.

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