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Re: Different ways to measure the elevation of a mountain

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Different ways to measure the elevation of a mountain
July 07, 2010 08:33PM
July 6, 2010 at 10:28 PM

How tall is Rainier, really?

By Sandi Doughton

Nearly two decades after Global Positioning System (GPS) technology was first used to measure Mount Rainier, a team of surveyors will hike to the summit this month to see if the latest generation of GPS can pin a more accurate number on the Northwest's tallest mountain.

"I fully expect that we'll get a different elevation," said Gavin Schrock, administrator of the Washington State Reference Network and project coordinator.

How different?

Probably just a few inches, Schrock conceded.

... The debate dates back more than 150 years, with estimates ranging between 12,330 feet and 15,500 feet.

The low number came from naval officer Charles Wilkes, who eyeballed and triangulated the mountain from Fort Nisqually in the early 1840s. Near the end of the century, a young chemistry professor carted a three-foot mercury barometer to the summit, using changes in atmospheric pressure to calculate an elevation of 14,528. He fell to his death on the descent. Another survey team used as a yardstick the boiling point of water, which also changes with elevation.


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012293597_rainier07m.html
avatar Re: Different ways to measure the elevation of a mountain
July 07, 2010 08:53PM
FYI, I had occasion to look up Mt. Hood on Wikipedia the other day.

One of the early estimates of its height was 19.4k. See the "Elevation" section of the article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hood
Since it is currently pegged at 11,239 ft., one may feel free to speculate what a certain Mr. Belden was smoking or drinking that day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2010 04:50AM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Different ways to measure the elevation of a mountain
July 07, 2010 08:54PM
Quote
szalkowski
Since it is currently pegged at 11,249 ft., one may feel free to speculate what a certain Mr. Belden was smoking or drinking that day.

Maybe the mountain was smoking?
avatar Re: Different ways to measure the elevation of a mountain
July 07, 2010 08:58PM
Also, what do you measure from? If you measure all the way to the bottom of the mountain, then the tallest is the Island of Hawaii. If you measure from the center of the Earth, the tallest is Mt Kilimanjaro. And, you know. the tallest mountain is actually on Mars; Olympus Mons at over 88,000 feet.
avatar Re: Different ways to measure the elevation of a mountain
July 07, 2010 08:59PM
Quote
Dave
And, you know. the tallest mountain is actually on Mars; Olympus Mons at over 88,000 feet.

Yeah, but the lower gravity is kind of cheating.
avatar Re: Different ways to measure the elevation of a mountain
July 07, 2010 09:08PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Dave
And, you know. the tallest mountain is actually on Mars; Olympus Mons at over 88,000 feet.

Yeah, but the lower gravity is kind of cheating.


That's 152,000 Belden feet.
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