Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The World's Highest Mountains

K2 (shown above) is located on the China-Pakistan border. It stands at an elevation of 28,238 feet (8,607 meters) above sea level. It is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest with a peak at 28,251 ft (8,611 meters). The air is so thin at the summits that climbers need to use oxygen masks.

Using GPS technology in 1999 Everest was measured at 29,035 feet. The towering peaks of K2 and Everest are the result of geologic thrusting and are many millions of years old.

The name “K2” was given to the mountain in 1852 by the British surveyor T.G. Montgomerie. The “K” denotes the mountain range — Karakoram — and the “2” denotes that it is the second peak recorded.

Routes of ascent

Climbers refer to K2 as “The Savage Mountain” because of the extreme level of danger it poses to mountaineers. K2 has a higher fatality rate than Mount Everest. One out of every four climbers who attempt K2's summit have perished.

K2 is also called Mount Godwin-Austen, and is named for Henry Godwin-Austen, an early explorer of this region.

The mountain is described by different peoples familiar with it, including peoples of India, China, Tibet and Pakistan. In various languages it is described as the Great Mountain, the Doorway, and the Big Peak.

Mount Everest

The summit of Mount Everest is the border of Nepal to the south and Tibet on the north. The Chinese claim the region.Mount Everest was named for the British surveyor Sir George Everest in 1865. He lead a survey team to Everest in 1841.

Everest was formed by the movement of the Indian tectonic plate pushing up and against the Asian plate. Because of this movement, Everest grows each year. However, it can also shrink in elevation. The region is seismically active and a huge Nepal quake in 2015 may have affected the height of Everest. On 29 April 2015, scientists in Europe announced that preliminary satellite data suggests Everest may have decreased by about one inch.

The jet stream flows across the top of Everest, making the peak a very windy spot. Winds have been known to blow at 200 miles per hour. 

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