Nepal has rejected India’s offer to jointly measure the height of Mount Everest to find out whether the 2015 earthquake shrank the world’s tallest peak. The country’s survey department will measure the height on its own in 2019, PTI reported on Wednesday, citing Director General of the Survey Department Ganesh Prasad Bhatta.
However, Nepal will need some data from neighbouring India and China for the exercise, as the earthquake shook the country’s basic landscape, Bhatta said. China has not yet offered to help, he added.
Girish Kumar, the Surveyor General of India, confirmed that Nepal had not responded to India’s proposal. In January, then Surveyor General Swarna Subba Rao had said that a team from India would visit Nepal to measure the peak in collaboration with its government.
Satellite data has shown that the earthquake could have reduced the height of the peak – scientists differ on the extent. Nepal has not measured Mount Everest’s height before. The officially accepted height – 8,848 metres, or 29,029 feet – is based on a measurement by Indian surveyors in 1954.
According to Washington Post, being able to afford measuring the peak by itself is likely to serve as a badge of honour for the Himalayan country, as it is one of the only two nations that can lay claim to the Everest. China is the other.
In September, Bhatta had told Reuters that Nepal was developing a methodology for the re-measurement in view of the earthquake, and an expedition would be made in 2018 to settle the debate.
An earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale, hit Nepal in April 2015, killing thousands of people and reducing buildings to rubble besides altering the country’s landscape.