World / Asia-Pacific

Highest peak is shifted by quake

By Peng Yining (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-16 07:42

Highest peak is shifted by quake

Base camp of Mount Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in the West, is seen approximately 5,300 meters above sea level in Solukhumbu District, May 6, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

The magnitude-7.9 earthquake in Nepal on April 25 moved Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in the West, 3 centimeters to the southwest, according to a report published on Monday by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation.

The report also said that, during the past decade, the mountain moved 40 cm to the northeast at a speed of 4 cm a year and rose 3 cm at a speed of 0.3 cm a year.

The second quake in Nepal, on May 12, didn't move the mountain either horizontally or vertically. That temblor measured magnitude 7.5.

"The mountain has been constantly moving to the northeast, and the earthquake made it bounce a little bit in the opposite direction," said Xu Xiwei, deputy head of the Institute of Geology at the China Earthquake Administration in Beijing. "The scale of such movement is normal and won't affect life in the area."

Located in the border area between China and Nepal, Qomolangma is located where the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates meet. Xu said Qomolangma is an important window to observe tectonic movement and its effects on the terrain.

"By measuring the movement, scientists can learn more about the principles of Earth releasing energy, and measure the scale of the energy being released," Xu said. "Such measurement helps us to locate the source of the tectonic movement and observe when abnormal movement occurs."

Since 2005, the surveying, mapping and geoinformation administration has been setting up satellite geodetic survey points on the north side of Qomolangma that enable scientists to measure the speed of tectonic movement.

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