Mt Hope installed as ‘UK’s highest peak’

Image copyright BAS/Alan Vaughan
Image caption Mount Hope is more than two times the height of Ben Nevis in Scotland

Britain has a brand new tallest mountain.

Mt Hope, which is sited within the part of the Antarctic claimed by the UNITED KINGDOM, was recently re-measured and discovered to tower above the previous name holder, Mt Jackson, by a great 50m (160ft).

Hope is now put at 3 or more, 239m (10, 626ft); Jackson will be 3, 184m (10, 446ft).

The map-makers on the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) had been prompted to take another look at the hills because of concerns for the safety associated with pilots flying across the White Region.

“In Antarctica there are no roads, so to go around you have to fly planes. And if most likely flying planes you really need to know in which the mountains are and how high they may be, ” explained Dr Peter Fretwell.

  • Mt Paget on South Atlanta island is the highest mountain on the British Overseas Territory outside the Antarctic
  • Ben Nevis , the tallest peak inside the UK, was recently re-measured making use of high-precision GPS technology at one, 345m (4, 412ft)

As well as giving Mt Wish its new status, the reassessment has provided a more complete description from the relief across the quadrant of Antarctica claimed by Britain. This includes the long peninsula that extends north towards South America.

Some of its mountains have been “moved” up to 5km to put them more accurately on long term maps.

Mount Vinson, which sits just outside the Uk Antarctic Territory, remains the proven tallest peak on the continent with 4, 892m (16, 049ft).

Dr Fretwell’s group is releasing its findings upon EL International Mountain Day .

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Media caption Peter Fretwell: “If mountains are usually missing or in the wrong put on maps – that’s dangerous”

Height data-sets are a topic of debate here at the Fall Meeting of the United states Geophysical Union (AGU) – the world’s largest yearly gathering of Earth and planetary scientists.

The particular BAS group used a combination of height models built from satellite data to help make the new mountain assessment.

When this medium-resolution info threw up the possibility that Mt Hope had been underestimated, the experts then ordered in some very high resolution photos for confirmation.

These pictures, taken from umlaufbahn by the American WorldView-2 spacecraft, permitted for a stereo view of the summits of both Hope and Knutson.

“We contact this photogrammetry, ” said Doctor Fretwell. “Because we know the position from the satellite so well, if we utilize it to take two images of a hill that are ever so slightly offset through each other, we can then employ easy trigonometry to work out the height of this mountain. ”

The process raised Wish from 2, 860m to 3 or more, 239m. The measurement technique bears an uncertainty of just 5m, so there should be no argument on the mountain’s new-found superiority.

The long chain associated with peaks that runs down the backbone of the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the the majority of spectacular landscapes on Earth.

The chain was initially constructed some 50-100 million years ago for the oceanic tectonic plate slid underneath the Antarctic continent, said BAS geophysicist Dr Tom Jordan.

“This produced volcanism and also a shortening and a thickening of the brown crust area. Then, more recently, the ice linen and its glaciers have cut heavy trenches into the Antarctic Peninsula, eliminating rock and depositing it just offshore.

“As this particular mass has been removed so the entire of the peninsula has rebounded, outstanding the peaks fairly significantly, inch he explained.

At the AGU meeting in Brand new Orleans, US researchers are presenting very similar work – but on the much more extensive scale.

Dr Paul Morin, in the Polar Geospatial Center at the College of Minnesota, has led an attempt to re-map the elevation associated with both the Arctic and the Antarctic.

These projects get access to several years of WorldView images plus time on a supercomputer to procedure all the data.

The Frosty map has an height point, or “posting, ” every single 2m across the region. The Antarctic chart , due to be released earlier next year, will have the postings every single 8m.

“With this availability of data, Antarctica went from the poorest mapped place on our planet to one the best, ” Dr Morin told BBC News. “It can make better science cheaper and quicker to achieve. And it also makes science a lot safer because we know where every thing is. ”

Picture copyright Harris Geospatial
Image caption Artwork: WorldView-2 has one of the sharpest views associated with Planet Earth

Jonathan. Amos-INTERNET@bbc. co. uk and follow me upon Twitter: @BBCAmos