Has Mount Everest shrunk?
A team of climbers is on its way to summit Mount Everest this week to measure whether it has grown or shrunk.
Movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates can change the height of the summit, while measurements that take into account snow and ice can vary, even day to day.
A large earthquake is thought to have changed the mountain’s shape and height in 2015.
The current Chinese government-backed team of surveyors will have the mountain to themselves as it remains closed to paying climbers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Everest lies on the border of China and Nepal and both countries cancelled spring climbing to prevent the coronavirus from spreading among expedition teams that typically live for weeks in tightly packed camps at high altitudes with little access to emergency medical help.
Everest is on a major fault line between two tectonic plates. India is on one plate, which pushes against another that carries Europe and Asia. The pushing means there are frequent earthquakes. The Himalayas have been created by this pushing over millions of years.
One widely accepted height of Everest is 8848m above sea level, recorded in 1954 by an Indian team.
Did you know?
Last year, many climbers formed long lines at the summit and some died from lack of oxygen. A total of 876 people climbed the peak in 2019 alone!