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NZ extends technical expertise to Nepal for re-measuring Mt Everest

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Kathmandu, Aug 2 :  New Zealand will extend technical expertise to Nepal for re-measuring the height of Mt Everest – the world’s highest peak – after many geologists argued that the two powerful quakes in 2015 may have shrunk the mountain, a media report said today.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is supporting Dr Chris Pearson, a New Zealand geodesist, who is spending four weeks working with Nepal’s Survey Department to assist them in planning the project and processing data from its early phases, the Kathmandu Post reported.

Many geologists say the massive quakes in 2015 may have shrunk the mountain by about 3 centimetres. The current officially recognised height of Mt Everest is 8,848 metres.

The survey department launched a two-year survey of re-measuring Mt Everest this year which also coincides with the 65th anniversary of the first successful ascent of the peak by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the paper said.

The project involves the use of both conventional surveying techniques similar to those used by George Everest (who surveyed Mt Everest in the 19th century) and a modern global positioning system receiver that will be taken to the top of the mountain to measure its height, the paper said, citing a statement issued by the New Zealand High Commission.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

“The legacy of this historic achievement on 29 May 1953 continues to underpin New Zealand’s close and warm relationship with Nepal, as well as support its further growth. It is therefore a proud moment for us at the New Zealand Embassy to support this important initiative that will help us ascertain the correct height of this renowned geological landmark,” said Joanna Kempkers, New Zealand’s Ambassador to Nepal.

New Zealand’s Honorary Consul to Nepal Lisa Choegyal also expressed her pleasure at being able to provide technical support to Nepal following the earthquakes.

“It is an honour for New Zealand to be assisting the survey department and the government of Nepal with this important and high-profile task of re-measuring Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world and an iconic tourism attraction for Nepal,” she said in the statement.

Niraj Manandhar, Deputy Director General of Nepal’s Geodetic Survey Division Department of Survey, said thanked the New Zealand government for the assistance.

“We are absolutely delighted to have New Zealand’s help and Dr Chris Pearson’s expertise has been very valuable to our department,” Manandhar said.

Prior to this project, Dr Pearson led a successful post-earthquake survey mapping project along with Nepal’s survey department in 2015 to help the country rebuild after the two massive earthquakes earlier that year.

The earthquakes caused the ground to move by about 2 metres, sending co-ordinates in geographic information system and geodetic databases “well off'” their actual locations, the paper said.

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