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Experts to measure world's highest peak
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-19 01:09

China will once again measure the height of Mount Qomolangma, the world's highest peak, said the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) on Thursday.

A man takes a break on the Mount Qomolangma on October 24, 2004. [newsphoto/file]
Approved by the State Council, the SBSM will dispatch a special team that consists of 10 professional surveyors and climbers to the mount, said a bureau official on Friday.

"The mountaineering association of China's Tibet Autonomous Region will send climbers to join the team," he said.

He disclosed that the preparation work of the surveying is under way by the bureau.

According to a timetable drafted by the bureau, the team will arrive in Tibet in March and enter the area of Qomolangma a month later, he said. "In May, members of team will brave their way to the peak of Qomolangma as well surveying its height."

China's mountaineering team first surveyed the height of the Qomolangma in 1975 and the State Council later confirmed the altitude of the peak as 8,848.13 metres above sea level.

Since then, the bureau has organized four surveys, with the last in1998, but the official height of the mountain remained the same, he noted.

"It is very necessary to conduct another official survey of the height of the highest peak," he said.

The unique high altitude, chilly weather and complicated geological situation make Mount Qomolangma, which is regarded as the "Third Pole" of the earth, a subject of interest among scientists in different countries, Sun Honglie, an academician with the China Academy of Sciences, was quoted as saying by the Workers' Daily.

Due to global warming in recent decades, the environmental changes in Qomonlangma area have become an urgent subject that need more research, he said.

Meanwhile, after 30 years of geological movement in this region, the current height of mountain may have changed, said the SBSM official, adding that the improvement of surveying technologies would help the upcoming survey to achieve a more precise result.

Besides, many climbing teams from various countries have conducted surveys in recent years and got different data about the height of Qomolangma, he said.

At the same time, large scale surveying and mapping work will be organized in the surrounding areas of Qomolangma to provide benchmark data when counting the height of peak as well to conduct researches on the global science in this region, he noted.

(China Daily 02/19/2005 page2)

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