06 August 2010

Mauna Kea, Rising From the Sea Floor

Hawaiian islands from the sea floor. 
Mount Everest is regularly called the tallest mountain on Earth, and by one measure that is true. Everest stands 8,850 m (29,035 feet) above sea level, and no other mountain reaches higher. But Everest sits on the Tibetan plateau, 5000 m above sea level, and rises only about 3800 m (13,000 feet) above the surrounding terrain. Big, but if the bulk of the mountain was set next to Denali or Kilimanjaro it would be dwarfed. 

But another mountain you may already know is the point of this post. Mauna Kea, on the big island of Hawaii, is 4,205 m (13,796 feet) above sea level at the peak, but it's base actually lies 6,000 m (19,680 ft) below on the sea floor, for a total peak-to-base height of 10,203 m (33,476 ft), the most on Earth, land or sea. Also, check out the observatories on Mauna Kea.  I will leave you with this:

Yes, this is Hawaii. (NASA)


  1. Anwar Chengala06 August, 2010 17:11

    I remember the height of Mt everest was 8848 m when I was in school and memorized for the quizzes I took part in. Besides, it's a household no. in India. I was gonna correct you when I read your article. But when I googled just to check, you were right..That no. was recently updated..
    Now, I'll update my mind. Thanks for that!!

  2. Anwar - It sounds like there is a debate about what the exact height of Mt Everest is. A lot of places still use 8848, including the wikipedia page, but plenty have switched to 8850 now. There was also a 2005 study by a group in China that measured 8844 m to the top of the rock, and 4 m of snow and ice, to get the same 8848 number you learned. I think either is fine to use. It seems like a lot of argument for 2 meters of height.