Moving mountains: Everest shifted 3 centimeters during Nepal quake

The deadly earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25 abruptly changed the direction of the world’s tallest peak.

According to China’s National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, Mount Everest shifted three centimeters southwest during the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in Nepal on April 25. (Flickr Commons/Thomas Wanhoff)

(MEDIA GENERAL) – According to Chinese authorities, Mount Everest moved three centimeters southwest as a result the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck in Nepal on April 25.

China’s National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation set up a satellite system in 2005 to monitor the world’s tallest mountain and observe its movement. The administration has said Everest had been moving northeast at approximately four centimeters per year and had grown approximately 0.3 centimeters per year, according to Chinese state media reports.

The mountain’s height did not change as a result of the April 25 quake, and other earthquakes, including a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck May 12, did not move the mountain.

Mount Everest fast facts

AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha
Photos: Nepal Earthquake »
  • Mount Everest, or Mt. Qomolangma as it is known in China, is the tallest mountain on Earth, reaching 29,029 feet above sea level. Several land surveys have been done on the mountain, but 29,029 is the height recognized by Chinese and Nepalese authorities. 29,029 was determined in 1955 and reaffirmed in a 1975 survey. A 2005 survey, using the latest technology, measured the mountain at 29,017 feet, but did not factor in ice and snow buildup. Chinese officials state the icepack atop the mountain is approximately 11 feet deep, which almost exactly hits 29,029 feet when factoring in error probability.
  • The mountain goes by many names, including several names handed down through the local communities and neighboring regions. British explorers and cartographers dubbed it Mount Everest after George Everest, the former Surveyor General of India. Everest reportedly opposed the mountain being named after him.
  • Everest isn’t the only “tallest mountain on Earth.” Everest has the highest peak, but the base of the mountain sits much higher above sea level. Both Mauna Kea in Hawaii and Mount McKInley in Alaska are taller mountains when measured from their bases. Mauna Kea is only 13,796 feet above sea level, far shorter than Everest, but actually is 33,464 feet tall when factoring in the mountain’s base that stems from the ocean floor.

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