The Nepal quake moved Everest

The 7.8 magnitude quake the happened in Nepal a few months ago (in April) not only left the country devastated with serious problems but at the same time, it seems that it had a much larger impact to the world than one could imagine. In fact, it managed to reverse the gradual northeasterly course of the world's highest peak, which straddles Nepal and China, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information found!

In more details, the earthquake moved Mount Everest three centimeters (just over an inch) to the southwest, but did not change its height (which is usually given as 8,848 metres (9,029 or feet) according to Chinese research published on Tuesday.The same report mentioned that Everest had moved 40 centimeters to the northeast over the past decade at a speed of four centimeters a year, while it has also somehowrisen three centimeters over the same period.

Now, the reason for this change is not fully known but according to the findings from the research, all the questions will soon be answered. Nepal rests on a major fault line between two tectonic plates - one bearing India pushing northward into a plate carrying Europe and Asia at a rate of about two centimeters (three quarters of an inch) per year - the exact same process that created the Himalayas.

Roger Bilham, professor of geological science at the University of Colorado, agreed with the Chinese findings.

But he said that the focus should not be on Everest, calling the peak "a lump of uneroded rock that just happens to have survived a little bit higher than all the other rocks in the Himalaya".

"The Everest region was a mere bystander, and was pulled slightly by this movement by a few centimeters south and a little bit down," he told AFP in an email.

"We have been studying the core areas affected by the quake and there has been a general southward movement," said Madhu Sudan Adhikari, head of the survey department in Nepal's land ministry. "Kathmandu has shifted south by over 1.5 meters and was uplifted by nearly a meter."

Everest's official height of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) was determined by an Indian survey in 1954, but other measurements have varied by several meters.

China measures the peak four meters lower - by excluding the snowcap - while in 1999 an American team using GPS technology recorded a height of 8,850 meters, a figure used by the US National Geographic Society.

Everest was first measured in 1856, nearly 100 years before it was conquered by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.

In 2010, Nepal and China reached a compromise under which Nepal measured the height of Everest's snowcap at 8,848 meters and China measured the rock peak at 8,844 meters.

So as we stated at the beginning, this earthquake was devastating for Nepal and the people living there but this was not the only surprise since it was later discovered that Everest was moved as well. That leaves us wondering, will we soon discover any other surprises by the April’s quake? Stay tuned to find out!

Last Modified: Mar 25, 2019