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Surveyors set records while measuring Qomolangma

  • Source : China Daily Author : Time : 05/28/2020 Editor : Liu Yinan

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    Members of the Chinese surveying team who remeasured Mount Qomolangma celebrate after they reached the summit on the morning of May 27, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

     

    A Chinese survey team reached the summit of Mount Qomolangma on Wednesday and remeasured the height of the world's highest peak.

     

    The event marked a crucial step in China's mission to survey the mountain, which scientists believe will enhance human knowledge of nature and help boost scientific development. The ascent also set some scientific and mountaineering records.

     

    After summiting at 11 am, the eight-member team erected a survey marker and installed a Global Navigation Satellite System antenna on the snow-covered peak, which measures less than 20 square meters, while other surveyors conducted observations from six points beneath the peak.

     

    It will probably take two to three months for scientists to calculate and release the exact height of Mount Qomolangma, the Ministry of Natural Resources said on Wednesday.

     

    Mount Qomolangma, also known in the West as Mount Everest, straddles the China-Nepal border, with its northern part located in Shigatse in the Tibet autonomous region.

     

    "The changes of Mount Qomolangma are of key significance to the global studies of geology and ecology, and have a major impact on people's lives," said Chen Gang, an engineer at the ministry.

     

    While at the summit, the team members also measured the depth of the snow and conducted GNSS, gravity and meteorological surveys.

     

    The high-altitude gravity survey set a new world record, being the highest of its kind.

     

    The team members also remained at the summit for two and a half hours, a record for Chinese climbers.

     

    More than 300 years ago, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Chinese conducted the first survey of the mountain. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Chinese surveyors had conducted six rounds of scaled measurements-measuring while climbing-and scientific research on Mount Qomolangma. They issued two height measurements for the peak, one in 1975 and another in 2005, putting it at 8,848.13 meters and 8,844.43 meters, respectively.

     

    Mount Qomolangma is located in the collision and compression zone between the edges of the Indian and the Eurasian tectonic plates, where movement of Earth's crust is very active.

     

    "Accurately measuring the height of Mount Qomolangma is helpful to the study of the elevation changes of the Himalayas and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau," said Gao Dengyi, an atmospheric physicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

     

    Innovations applied in this survey included use of China's homegrown Beidou Navigation Satellite System, domestic surveying equipment, an airborne gravimeter to measure gravity and 3D interactive virtual reality, according to Li Guopeng, director of the 1st Geodetic Surveying Brigade under the Ministry of Natural Resources.

     

    Before descending, the team members unfurled a Chinese national flag on the summit.

     

    At about 1:30 pm, team leader Tsenor reported to command at the base camp, "Command, we have completed the surveying mission and are ready to descend."

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