Mount Everest Moved —One Whole Inch

Nepal's deadly April earthquake shook the mountain hard
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2015 10:24 AM CDT
Mount Everest Moved —One Whole Inch
Do we have to move the sign 1 inch, too?   (Shutterstock)

Rest easy, geological watchdogs: Reports that Mount Everest may have shrunk almost a whole inch after April's devastating earthquake in Nepal are unfounded, Chinese officials say. But those same officials note that data culled from a satellite monitoring system shows the deadly quake that killed more than 8,000 people did manage to move the world's highest peak, pushing it about 1.2 inches southwest, CNN reports. Per the Chinese National Administration of Surveying, Mapping, and Geoinformation, which set up the monitoring system 10 years ago to keep track of where and how the mountain moves, Everest (or Qomolangma, as the Tibetans call it) has been creeping northeast at about 1.5 inches annually—a total of almost 16 inches so far—and growing upward at a barely detectable 0.1 inches annually, which means it's gained an inch or so of height over the past 10 years, CNN notes.

"The mountain has been constantly moving to the northeast, and the earthquake made it bounce a little bit in the opposite direction," the deputy head of Beijing's Institute of Geology at the China Earthquake Administration tells China Daily. "The scale of such movement is normal and won't affect life in the area." The movement-tracking tools put in place aren't just to fill our Everest trivia coffers, the paper notes: By studying tectonic movement, scientists hope to see what effects it has on local terrain and how the Earth expends energy. State media notes that a second quake that hit Nepal on May 12 was shown to have had no effect on the mountain's movement, per CNN. (Whether Everest grew, shrunk, or stayed the same, some still don't think it's a good idea to climb it.)

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