Did Everest Really Shrink? We're About to Find Out

India to send scientists to measure
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2017 9:44 AM CST
Did Everest Really Shrink? We're About to Find Out
In this Nov. 12, 2015, file photo, Mt. Everest is seen from the way to Kalapatthar in Nepal.   (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa, File)

Call it the mystery of the missing inch. India's surveyor general on Tuesday announced that the country would "remeasure" Mount Everest to determine whether the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Nepal in April 2015 really did shave a bit off the mountain's height. The AFP reports that satellite data indicated as much as an inch was lost from the 29,029-foot behemoth, but "there's doubt in the scientific community that it did in fact shrink," explains Swarna Subba Rao. The BBC reports it'll be the second such measurement India has made: The current height was determined in a survey the country conducted 62 years ago.

Rao says a team will depart for Nepal in two months, and he tells the Press Trust of India they will use two methods of measurement "for better confirmation": GPS and a ground method, "triangulation." A month will be spent observing, with the determination being made official about two weeks later. In other Everest news, one man's dream of being the first since 1987 to summit the peak in the winter without supplemental oxygen has seen it dashed. The Local reports Spaniard Carlos Rubio was airlifted off the mountain Friday after experiencing altitude sickness. Companion Alex Txikon has made it to camp 3; there is one more before the summit, where temperatures average -33 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. (Everest experienced its second deadliest day ever because of the quake.)

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