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India will re-measure Mount Everest's height to check 2015 Nepal earthquake impact

Some scientists believe it has shrunk by one metre, said the Survey of India.

A team from the Survey of India will soon visit Nepal to measure the height of Mount Everest and figure out whether the 2015 earthquake had reduced its height. Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao told PTI on Tuesday that the project will start in two months’ time in collaboration with the government of Nepal. The height of Mount Everest was 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) above sea level when last recorded.

The decision was taken after speculations among scientists about the Nepal earthquake impact on the mountain. According to satellite data, the quake reduced the height of the peak by around one metre. “We don’t know what happened, there’s been no confirmed report. Some scientists do believe it has shrunk,” Rao told BBC. The team will have around 30 scientists, including three or four Indians.

They will observe the peak for about a month and then it will take around 15 days to compute and publish the data. The height will be measured in two ways - using the Global Positioning System and a ground method. “It [The GPS] is a survey instrument. If you put it on the summit, say for 10 minutes, it tells you the height. The second is...triangulation. The height can be calculated from ground,” Rao added.

This is the second time that the height of Everest is being measured by India. “Everest’s height was declared, if I remember correctly, in 1855. We are re-measuring it. It is almost two years since the major Nepal earthquake,” said Rao, adding that the exercise would also help future studies.

An earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale, hit Nepal in April, 2015. Thousands of people were killed while buildings were reduced to rubble. The quake changed the landscape of the region.

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