By Trevor Nace
Let’s clear up any confusion right upfront.
The world’s highest mountain is:
- Mount Everest at 29,029 feet (8,848 meters) above sea level
The world’s tallest mountain is:
- Mauna Kea at 33,000 feet (10,058 meters) above the bottom of the Pacific Ocean
The world’s highest mountain as measured as farthest from the center of the Earth is:
- Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador at 20,703 feet (6,310 meters) above sea level and 3,967 miles from the center of the earth (1.2 miles farther than Mount Everest)
Of course, it has to be more complicated than a simple answer. This is because while most people think the tallest mountain is Mt. Everest, it all depends on our reference frame.
The fun infographic above visualizes what I mean.
So Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, but Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the tallest mountain from its base at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to its peak 13,803 feet (4,207 meters) above sea level.
But, there’s one more mountain we should mention. Mount Chimborazo can be considered the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the center of the Earth. This is because the Earth is an oblate spheroid, meaning it’s not a perfect sphere and bulges out around the equator. That makes the peak of Mount Chimborazo the farthest point from the center of Earth at 3,967 miles.
Question: What’s the tallest mountain on Mars? Answer: Olympus Mons at an astounding 84,480 feet (25,750 meters)!
Question: What is the tallest mountain in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres? Answer: Aconcagua in Argentina, at 22,837 feet (6,961 meters).
Question: What is the tallest mountain in the continental U.S.? Answer: Mount Whitney in California, at 14,494 feet (4,418 meters) which, incidentally, is only 50 feet higher than Colorado’s Mount Elbert.
Question: What is the tallest mountain in the United States? Answer: Denali (in Alaska) at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters).
Credit: Forbes, www.forbes.com