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Everest pulled up for height check

Everest, which straddles Nepal and China, is generally thought to stand at 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) after an Indian survey in 1954, but other more recent measurements have varied by several metres.

Everest is the world's tallest peak, no question. However, its exact height has been the subject of an escalating spat between its two co-owners — China and Nepal — for decades. Now, Nepal is setting out to settle the issue once and for all, the BBC writes

Last year, the two countries agreed on a single height of 8,848m, recorded by an Indian survey in 1955. But each country believes the mountain should be measured in different ways. China identifies the peak by the height of its rock, while Nepal looks four meters higher, to the top of its snow cap.

Nepal's continued irritation at China's rock-height stance, particularly during border negotiations, has caused the smaller nation to remeasure the peak for itself.

"We have begun the measurement to clear this confusion. Now we have the technology and the resources, we can measure (Everest) ourselves," Gopal Giri, a Nepal government spokesperson, told an AFP news agent, as mentioned in the BBC story. "This will be the first time the Nepal government has taken the mountain's height."

Measuring the world's tallest mountain is looking like a tall order, and Nepal is gearing up to do this using GPS tracking from three locations over two years, Giri said. 

Nepal may have the final word for now, but its victory might be short lived. Some geologists believe that Everest is getting taller every day, the BBC writes, from the Indian tectonic plate sliding into and under the Asian plate, raising the height of the summit by a tiny bit every year.

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Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and technology at msnbc.com. Find her on Twitter or Google+, and join our conversation on the Cosmic Log Facebook page.