Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 10:44 UK

Nepal and China agree on Mount Everest's height

Mount Everest
Geologists say the mountain continues to grow

China and Nepal have agreed a solution to a long-running disagreement over the height of Mount Everest.

They agreed that the world's highest mountain - which traverses the border of the two countries - should be recognised as being 8,848m tall.

The Chinese previously argued it should be measured by its rock height. Nepal said it should be measured by its snow height - this is four metres higher.

During talks in Nepal's capital Kathmandu, China accepted that claim.

This means the official overall height of Everest is now designated as 8,848m. Nepal also recognises China's claim that the rock height of Everest is 8,844m.

Correspondents say that while thousands of people have climbed the mountain since the first ascent in 1953 by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, its exact height has been disputed ever since the first measurement was made in 1856.

The broadly-accepted height of 8,848m was first recorded by an Indian survey in 1955. It measured the mountain's snow cap, rather than the rock beneath it.

But geologists say that the estimates of both countries over the height of Mount Everest could be wrong.

They say that the mountain is becoming higher as India is gradually pushed beneath China and Nepal because of shifting continental plates.

In May 1999 an American team used GPS technology to record a height of 8,850m - a figure that is now used by the US National Geographic Society - although it has not been officially accepted by Nepal.

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