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Surprising Science

Mt. Everest an Inch Shorter Following Nepal Earthquake

Researchers have found that the earthquake has taken an inch from the iconic Mount Everest.

The devastating earthquake in Nepal has already claimed over 6,000 lives, and although the world has come together to help in relief efforts, it’s likely that the earthquake will take more lives in its aftermath. It shows while developed countries like Japan and the United States may have protocols in place for such natural disasters, there are still places in the world where such response teams don’t exist.

While the world bands together to help repair the damage the 7.8-magnitude earthquake has done, scientists are reviewing satellite imagery to see how the landscape has changed in Nepal. Becky Oskin from Live Science writes that the earthquake lifted the ground near Kathmandu by three feet.

Tim Wright, a geophysicist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, added:

“That’s one of the reasons why Kathmandu has so much damage.”

But while the ground swelled in some areas, it took from others. Mount Everest is now shorter. The earthquake shortened the mountain by one inch. However, the Himalayas continue to grow — researchers estimate they rise a total of 0.4 inch every year due to the continuing collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Scientists plan to continue monitoring the changes in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake. They believe there may yet be more earthquakes or tremors, saying that there may be some strain that still needs to be released based on the finding that the fault did not break up to the Earth’s surface.

Read more about the research at Live Science.

Below, CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation talks about how the word “innovation” can expand beyond widgets and consumer technology, and to how we think about bettering the world:

Photo Credit: Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn) / Flickr


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