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Friday, January 1, 2021

GK update ~ change what the World believed since 1954 - associated with Andrew Scott Waugh ??


In Australia, Cricketer  Austin has decided to take a sabbatical from the game… .. Austin is only 21, and  has reportedly informed Sydney grade club Sutherland, where former Test great Glenn McGrath also played, that he intends to take a break from cricket to rediscover his passion for the game.  The news  assumes significance for his family name – he is Austin Waugh, son of legendary Steve Waugh.  Stephen Rodger Waugh AO   and twin brother of cricketer Mark Waugh represented Australia with great honours. .   Steve as captain from 1997 to 2004, led Australia to fifteen of their record sixteen consecutive Test wins, and to victory in the 1999 Cricket World Cup.  

Do you know the contribution of  Major General Sir Andrew Scott Waugh (1810 -1878) and the reason, he is in news now too !!

On Tuesday, the joint certification made by  Foreign Ministers of Nepal and China became a hot news as it changed what has commonly being spoken of, [a regular Quiz Q] since 1954.   The common declaration meant that the two countries have shed their long-standing difference in opinion.  Though it was announced jointly, China worked on it individually.  Nepal, in fact, had completed its mission early last year. The team of 120 (field workers and data analysts) was processing the data and computing results, which took four months, when the pandemic disrupted its work. The two sides subsequently signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly make public their results.  .. .. it is the new height of Mt. Everest


The world’s highest mountain peak Mount Everest is called Chomolungma in Tibetan and Sagarmāthā  in Nepali.  Mount Everest, located on the top of the world, attracts people.  Sagarmāthā is Earth's highest mountain. All along we have read that it’s  peak is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft).  Although more than 4,000 people have scaled the summit since Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered the mountain in 1953, hundreds have also perished.   Now the joint announcements puts the height of the Mountain peak to be  8848.86 meters (about 29,032 feet) ,  less than a meter higher than the previously recognized height.  Interesting to read that a Chinese measurement in 2005 had determined that the rock height of the summit – known as Chomolungmu and Sagarmartha in local languages - was 8,844.43 metres (29,017 feet), about 3.7 metres (11 feet) less than the 1954 estimate.

Everest is named after the colonial-era British surveyor George Everest, who never actually saw it. The new measurement will have little practical impact. K2, the world’s second highest mountain, is 237 metres lower. The reason why the newly agreed figure may be temporary is because the 2,900km-long Himalayan chain is located on, and was formed by, the uplift caused by the colliding Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which are continuing to push up the Himalaya at an average of 1cm every year.

Nepal, which is home to another seven of the world’s 14 highest peaks, sent its first team of surveyors in May last year to measure Everest. Government officials stated that  eight years ago that they felt under pressure from China to accept the Chinese height and therefore they had decided to go for a fresh measurement to “set the record straight once and for all”. Chinese surveyors then climbed the peak in spring this year, when the mountain was closed by both countries for other climbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the new figures, the tip of the world's tallest peak is now 29,031.7 feet above sea level. This new official figure is slightly higher than Nepal's previous measurement, and about 13 feet higher than China's earlier stand.

Foreign ministers of China and Nepal - Wang Yi and Pradeep Gyawali, respectively - had simultaneously pressed buttons during a virtual conference, post which the new measurement was displayed on the screens. After a major earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, there had been debates regarding the height of the mountain. The natural calamity that had destroyed about a million structures in Nepal and caused 9,000 fatalities, was also believed to have shrunk Mt. Everest owing to an avalanche on the mountain, which also took 19 lives.

There was no doubt that Everest would remain the highest peak because the second-highest, Mount K2, is "only" 28,244 feet high. Mt Everest's height was first determined by a team of British surveyors around 1856 as 29,002 feet. The most accepted figure however, has been 29,028 feet, which was determined by the Survey of India conducted in 1954.  

"This is a milestone in mountaineering history which will finally end the debate over the height, and now the world will have one number," said Santa Bir Lama, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, welcoming the end of confusion over the mountain's height. China's Xinhua New Agency quoted President Xi as saying that the two countries were also committed to jointly protecting the natural environment around Everest, while also furthering and cooperating in scientific research.

No other mountain has perhaps been the subject of as much debate. Over the years, there have been debates on issues like whether it should be “rock height”, or whether the snow cladding it, too, should be accounted for.  The  earlier measurement of 8,848 m  was determined by the Survey of India in 1954, using instruments like theodolites and chains, with GPS still decades away. The elevation of 8,848 m came to be accepted in all references worldwide — except by China.  

New Zealand, which shares a bond with Nepal over the mountain, provided technical assistance. Sir Edmund Hillary, the first climber on the peak along with Nepal’s Tenzing Norgay in May 1953, worked as the mountain’s undeclared brand ambassador to the world. In May 2019, the New Zealand government provided Nepal’s Survey Department (Napi Bibhag) with a Global Navigation Satellite, and trained technicians. Christopher Pearson, a scientist from University of Otago, travelled to Nepal on a special assignment.  

To conclude by answering the Q on Waugh - Major General Sir Andrew Scott Waugh (1810 –  1878) was a British army officer and Surveyor General of India who worked in the Great Trigonometrical Survey. He served under Sir George Everest and succeeded him in 1843. Waugh established a gridiron system of traverses for covering northern India. Waugh is credited with naming the peak of Mount Everest after his predecessor George Everest who never actually saw it. 

Colonial vestige !  ~  interesting !!


With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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