Is Everest Higher?...

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Is Everest Higher?... Empty Is Everest Higher?...

Post by Rockhopper on Mon May 18, 2015 3:01 pm

After the Nepal earthquake. Geologists are working on the data now.

Is Everest Higher?... Everestheight_adapt_1190_1

The massive earthquake that struck Nepal Saturday likely caused permanent changes in the Earth's surface and may have made Everest a little taller - or shorter, scientists say.

A team of geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is working on the problem now, but they need to retrieve data from a GPS station near Everest within the next 11 days, warns Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist who studies earthquakes with the USGS in Pasadena, California.

After that, new data will start recording over information about the quake, erasing the most detailed information on how much the station swayed back and forth and up and down. As a result, the geologists are scrambling to raise the funds to book helicopter time or to piggyback the mission on scheduled humanitarian efforts. (Learn more about the science of the Nepal quake.)

In the meantime, Hudnut and colleagues have been analyzing satellite and seismology data on Saturday's estimated magnitude 7.8 earthquake, to better understand what happened and determine how likely future quakes may be. Preliminary models, which will need to be refined, suggest that Mount Everest and its surrounding area may have shifted by a few centimeters both vertically and horizontally, says Hudnut.

That jives with an estimate from James Jackson, a geologist at Cambridge University in England. At Everest, "the vertical motion is expected to be less than 10 centimeters [four inches] and the horizontal the same," Jackson said via email.

Another spot moved two centimeters to the north, one centimeter to the east, and nothing in the vertical, Jackson added. That location, in Tibet 124 miles (200 kilometers) east of the earthquake's epicenter, may be similar to what Everest experienced, he noted.



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