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  Height of Mt. Qomolangma  
 
Source:en.tibet.cn Time: 2007-04-21

Mt. Qomolangma is the loftiest mountain at the top of Himalayas; the mountain peak is shaped like a pyramid and penetrates directly into the sky offering a spectacular view. It is no problem to view its peak, looking like a hanging flag in the clouds from a distance as far as 100 kilometers.

The India Measurement Team, organized by British government, was the first group to identify the height of Mt. Qomolangma. From 1848 to 1852, the team lead by George Everest and Andrew Waffle placed an optical mechanic measurement apparatus at Indian plain 100 miles away from Mt. Qomolangma, to conduct a measurement by taking the India Sea as the datum plane. The calculated elevation of Qomolangma was 8840 meters (about 29002 feet); making Qomolangma (Everest) the highest mountain in the world.

At the onset of the 20th century, many countries, including China, adopted the system of barometry to measure Qomolangma, recalculating its peak height at 8882 meters. In 1949, an America surveyor claimed to have found that Mt. Anyemaqen was in fact 193 meters higher than Qomolangma, takings it place as the highest peak in the world, but his theory was soon dismissed. In 1954, based on the 1852 figure of the India National Measurement Bureau, Mt. Qomolangma was officially re-measured once again as 8847.6 meters.

Line drawing of Mt.Qomolangma. By Zhou Zheng
Line drawing of Mt.Qomolangma. By Zhou Zheng

On May 25 at 4:30 am of 1960, having suffered of 30 hours of insufficient oxygen and food shortage, Chinese mountaineers reached the peak of Qomolangma for the first time, taking their place in world mountaineering history. In 1975, nine Chinese mountaineers, including Tibetan female mountaineer, Madam Phentog, repeated the feat.  On their trek, the group was able to ascertain a precise height measurement by placing a measurement mark at the peak and setting down ten control points for across an altitude range of 5600 to 7790 meters, crossly measuring the marks at the peak to come up with a height of 8848.13 meters.

In March 1987, newspapers in the United States and Italy reported that American astrologist had discovered through satellite data that China's Mt. Chogori peaked at 8859 meters, 11 meters higher than Qomolangma. That same year, however, experts lead by an Italian surveyor adopted a GPS measuring system to conclude that Mt. Qomolangma was 8872 meters, and Mt. Chogori was in fact only 8616 meters, confirming yet again that Mt. Qomolangma was still the highest mountain in the world.

Line drawing of Mt.Qomolangma. By Zhou Zheng
Chinese scientists re-measured the height of height of Mt.Qomolangma in 2005

Between May and October of 1992, experts from the United States and Italy individually measured the height of Qomolangma using a GPS measuring system and concluded that the figure of 8846.10 meters was most accurate, 2.03 meters less than data from China.

In 2005, Chinese scientists obtained new and accurate data: the bedrock on the top of Qomolangma was 8844.43 meters ??0.21 in height, and the depth of snow and ice at the top was 3.50 meters. Thereafter, the data issued in 1975 was no long used, and on October 9th, 2005, the newly agreed upon height of Qomolangma, as authorized by the State Department, was issued by the National Bureau of Surveying and Mapping according to the "Surveying and Mapping Law of the People's Republic of China."

The mountain shapes of Himalayas are especially giant and steep. Often referred to as the "High Himalayas,"five out of the fourteen highest mountains in the world (those with peaks reaching higher than 8000 meters) are located in this region - the fourth highest, Mt. Lhotse, with an elevation of 8501 meters is situated at the south side of Qomolangma, Mt. Makalu, the fifth highest at 8470 meters, sits at the east side, Mt. Cho Oyu, the seventh highest at 8153 meters is towards the west, and Mt. Shisabangma, the 14th and last highest peak is situated further westward, reaching a peak elevation of 8012 meters. 

 
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