Thursday, September 22, 2011

Highest Mountain in the World: Mount Everest has some rivals !

Mount Everest
   Mount Everest from Gokyo Ri. ,
© by Grazyna Niedzieska

Mount Everest:
  The "Highest Altitude" 

Almost everyone knows that Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world and climbers from everywhere travel to Everest hoping to earn the distinction of climbing the "World's Highest".

The peak of Mount Everest is 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) above sea level. This high elevation gives Mount Everest the distinction of being the mountain with the highest altitude

highest mountain
An altitude of 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) makes
Mount Everest Earth's highest mountain.

Mauna Kea tallest mountain
      Mauna Kea - observatories in the Hawaiian snow
  © by Dan Schmitt

Mauna Kea:
  The "Tallest Mountain" 

Mauna Kea has an altitude of 4,205 meters (13,796 feet) - much lower than Mount Everest. However, Mauna Kea is an island and if the distance from the bottom of the nearby ocean floor to the peak of the island is measured, then Mauna Kea is taller than Mount Everest.

Mauna Kea is over 10,000 meters tall compared to 8,848 meters for Mount Everest - making it the world's tallest mountain. 

tallest mountain
Mauna Kea rises over 10,000 meters above
the ocean floor making it taller than Everest.

Mauna Kea tallest mountain
      Chimborazo mountain in Ecuador
  © by Loic Bernard

  "Highest Above Earth's Center" 

Chimborazo in Ecuador has an altitude of 6,310 meters (20,703 feet). Mount Everest has a higher altitude and Mauna Kea is "taller". However, Chimborazo has the distinction of being the highest mountain above Earth's center.

This is because Earth is not a sphere - it is an oblate spheroid. As an oblate spheroid, Earth is widest at its equator. Chimborazo is just one degree south of Earth's equator and at that location it is 6,384 kilometers from Earth's center or about 2 kilometers farther from Earth's center than Mount Everest.

Chimborazo is located near the equator where earth's diameter is greatest.

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