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China, Nepal Settle Mount Everest Height Dispute

April 9, 2010

A meeting between officials from China and Nepal has settled a longstanding dispute regarding the official height of Mount Everest, according to various media reports published Thursday.

In 1954, the Survey of India measured Everest as being 29,028 feet tall. However, that was the measurement for the mountain using its snow height. In May 2005, Chinese mountaineers and researchers scaled the peak and found that its rock height was actually 11 feet less (29,017 feet).

Nepal has long insisted that the 1954 estimate was official, which had put the two nations at odds up until this week. According to BBC News, “During talks in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, China accepted that claim”¦ This means the official overall height of Everest is now designated as 8,848m [29,028 feet]. Nepal also recognizes China’s claim that the rock height of Everest is 8,844m [29,017 feet].”

The agreement between the two countries does not exactly put an end to the dispute over Everest’s official height. However, In 1999, an expedition by the Boston Museum of Science and the National Geographic Society used satellite technology to determine that the mountain stood 29,035 feet (or 8,850m) tall. Furthermore, climbers have recently reported that the snow and ice covered mountain has been experiencing some shrinkage due to global climate change.

Mount Everest is located on the border between Nepal and China, and is officially both the highest mountainous point above sea level and the highest continental crust point on Earth. It was first successfully scaled by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in May 1953.

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