| Mount Everest: Under a microscope
Beijing, May 22 (PTI): A record 24 Chinese mountaineers and scientists today conquered Mount Everest, kicking off a state-of-the-art effort to re-measure the world’s highest peak and conduct the most comprehensive scientific studies on the effect of global warming in the Himalayan region.
The expedition, which spent 77 minutes at the top, scaled the earth’s highest peak and successfully performed measuring operations.
This is the second measurement endeavour undertaken by the Chinese in the past three decades. The first, in 1975, reported the height of the world’s top mountain at 8,848.13 metres above sea level.
The team erected a 2.5-metre-long survey beacon and established a global positioning system monitoring station there for height measurement in the next two days and in the future.
They also used a radar device to detect the thickness of the snow and ice coat of Mount Qomolangma (the Chinese name for Mount Everest), which straddles the border between China and Nepal.
The results will exclude the thickness of ice and snow capping the peak, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
If successful, the expedition will be the first to determine the location of the peak’s rock formation with the most advanced technology in the world, a researcher said.
He said radar technology can help researchers ascertain the height of the rock formation after subtracting the depth of snow and ice on the top of the peak from the whole.
Geological theory says Mount Everest, which was formed about 60 million years ago, is growing about 10 millimetres a year as a result of crustal upthrust in the Himalayas, but some researchers in recent years have contended that the summit is becoming shorter as it begins to subside.
The height of the peak has been a subject of controversy for decades. A survey by an American research team in 1999 put it at 8,850 metres.
“Results of the current measurement will provide important data for the study of crustal movement and for other geoscience studies,” said Chen Bangzhu, head of the state bureau of surveying and mapping.