# Measuring Earth and its Mountains

• Astronuc
In summary: Entry 3) GPS.The old way involved surveying over a long distance, but now we have GPS. This has made measuring mountains much easier, and has also allowed us to measure the elevations of Earth's surface more accurately. Earlier this year PBS NOVA broadcast a documentary on measuring mountains. It covered Everest (Nepali: सगरमाथा, romanized: Sagarmāthā; Tibetan: Chomolungma ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ) and K2. The history behind measuring mountains and the elevations of Earth's surface is fascinating.
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
2023 Award
Earlier this year PBS NOVA broadcast a documentary on measuring mountains. It covered Everest (Nepali: सगरमाथा, romanized: Sagarmāthā; Tibetan: Chomolungma ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ) and K2. The history behind measuring mountains and the elevations of Earth's surface is fascinating. The old way involved surveying over a long distance, but now we have GPS.In the Wikipedia, the elevation of Everest is 8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft), and the elevation of K2 is 8,610 m (28,250 ft). I believe the elevations are measured with respect mean sea level.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Everest
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2

NOAA has a page on the heights of various mountains.
https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/highestpoint.html

The top of Mount Chimborazo is farther from the Earth's center than Mount Everest. Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo, located just one degree south of the Equator where Earth’s bulge is greatest.

Oldman too, anorlunda, Borg and 1 other person
The tallest mountain is arguably Mt. Lamlam. The problem is that most of it is covered by the Pacific Ocean.

It would make a fun thread or a fun Insight to list the many subjects on PF where the answer is, "It depends on how you define it or how you measure it." I wish I had starting taking notes on that 5 years ago. I'll start now. Entry 1) Mountains.

Astronuc and BillTre
Entry 2) Life, and many things associated with it.

anorlunda
Astronuc said:
The top of Mount Chimborazo is farther from the Earth's center than Mount Everest. Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo, located just one degree south of the Equator where Earth’s bulge is greatest.
Chimborazo was first climbed by Edward Whymper and the Carrel brothers in 1880. An incredible achievement, which you can read about in "Travels Among the Great Andes".

Astronuc and anorlunda
I tried to climb Chimborazo in 1997. It was my first trip to high altitude. It's a midnight start but the weather didn't look promising so it was abandoned. However, two of us were keen to do something, so we set off at 5am with a young Ecuadorian "guide". By then the weather was perfect and we bombed half way up in a couple of hours. A long radio call ensued and it was finally decided that it was too risky to let the three of us attempt the summit. I was more phlegmatic than the other client, Trevor, who (rightly IMO) blamed the chaotic organisation and lack of ambition of the British trip leader.

It all ended acrimoniously in a Cuban restaurant in Quito!

anorlunda and Astronuc
Good for you @PeroK. Adventures are adventures, successful or not. More people should take the chance to adventure.

## What is the purpose of measuring Earth and its mountains?

The purpose of measuring Earth and its mountains is to gain a better understanding of the planet's physical characteristics and to track changes over time. This information can also be used for various scientific and practical applications, such as predicting natural disasters and planning infrastructure projects.

## How is the height of a mountain measured?

The height of a mountain is typically measured using a combination of techniques, including satellite imagery, ground-based surveying, and advanced technologies like LiDAR and radar. These methods allow for accurate measurements of both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of a mountain.

## What is the tallest mountain on Earth?

The tallest mountain on Earth is Mount Everest, which stands at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level. This measurement was determined by a 1999 surveying expedition led by the National Geographic Society and Boston's Museum of Science.

## How do scientists determine the age of a mountain?

The age of a mountain can be determined through various methods, including radiometric dating of rocks found on the mountain and analyzing the geological processes that formed the mountain. Scientists also use techniques like studying the fossils found on the mountain to determine its age.

## Why do mountains form?

Mountains form due to tectonic activity, which is the movement and collision of Earth's tectonic plates. When two plates collide, the crust is pushed upwards, forming mountains. Mountains can also form through volcanic activity, erosion, and other geological processes.