Mount Everest facts for kids

Everest kalapatthar crop
Mount Everest

Mount Everest (Tibetian: Chomolungma; Nepali: Sagarmāthā) is the largest and highest mountain on Earth. Mount Everest is in the Himalayas. It is about 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) high.

Its peak is on the border of Nepal and China. It is above the Death Zone where the air is too thin for a human being to live, so usually extra oxygen is used when climbing. The Death Zone refers to the parts of Mount Everest that are above 7,600 metres (24,900 ft) above sea level.

Two other mountains also can be named as "highest" mountains - the volcano Mauna Kea on Hawaii island is the highest mountain measured from the base underwater to the summit (more than 11 kilometres), and the summit of Chimborazo is the fixed point on Earth which is the greatest distance from the center. This is because of the shape of the Earth: the circumference around the Equator is greater than around the poles.

Geology

EverestfromKalarPatarcrop
Mount Everest with snow melted, showing upper geologic layers in bands.

Geologists have subdivided the rocks comprising Mount Everest into three units called formations. Each formation is separated from the other by low-angle faults, called detachments, along which they have been thrust southward over each other. From the summit of Mount Everest to its base these rock units are the Qomolangma Formation, the North Col Formation, and the Rongbuk Formation.

The Qomolangma Formation, also known as the Jolmo Lungama Formation or the Everest Formation, runs from the summit to the top of the Yellow Band, about 8,600 m (28,200 ft) above sea level. It consists of greyish to dark grey or white, parallel laminated and bedded, Ordovician limestone interlayered with subordinate beds of recrystallised dolomite with argillaceous laminae and siltstone.

A thick, white-weathering thrombolite bed that is 60 m (200 ft) thick comprises the foot of the "Third Step", and base of the summit pyramid of Everest.

The bulk of Mount Everest, between 7,000 and 8,600 m (23,000 and 28,200 ft), consists of the North Col Formation, of which the Yellow Band forms its upper part between 8,200 to 8,600 m (26,900 to 28,200 ft). The Yellow Band consists of intercalated beds of Middle Cambrian diopside-epidote-bearing marble, which weathers a distinctive yellowish brown, and muscovite-biotite phyllite and semischist.

The remainder of the North Col Formation, exposed between 7,000 to 8,200 m (23,000 to 26,900 ft) on Mount Everest, consists of interlayered and deformed schist, phyllite, and minor marble.

Below 7,000 m (23,000 ft), the Rongbuk Formation underlies the North Col Formation and forms the base of Mount Everest.

Mount Everest consists of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks that have been faulted southward over continental crust composed of Archean granulites of the Indian Plate during the Cenozoic collision of India with Asia.

Flora and fauna

Yak at third lake in Gokyo
A yak at around 4790 m (15,715 ft)

There is very little native flora or fauna on Everest. A moss grows at 6,480 metres (21,260 ft) on Mount Everest. It may be the highest altitude plant species. An alpine cushion plant called Arenaria is known to grow below 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) in the region.

Euophrys omnisuperstes, a minute black jumping spider, has been found at elevations as high as 6,700 metres (22,000 ft), possibly making it the highest confirmed non-microscopic permanent resident on Earth. It lurks in crevices and may feed on frozen insects that have been blown there by the wind. There is a high likelihood of microscopic life at even higher altitudes.

Birds, such as the bar-headed goose, have been seen flying at the higher altitudes of the mountain, while others, such as the chough, have been spotted as high as the South Col at 7,920 metres (25,980 ft). Yellow-billed choughs have been seen as high as 7,900 metres (26,000 ft) and bar-headed geese migrate over the Himalayas. In 1953, George Lowe (part of the expedition of Tenzing and Hillary) said that he saw bar-headed geese flying over Everest's summit.

Yaks are often used to haul gear for Mount Everest climbs. They can haul 100 kg (220 pounds), have thick fur and large lungs. One common piece of advice for those in the Everest region is to be on the higher ground when around yaks and other animals, as they can knock people off the mountain if standing on the downhill edge of a trail. Other animals in the region include the Himalayan tahr which is sometimes eaten by the snow leopard. The Himalayan black bear can be found up to about 4,300 metres (14,000 ft) and the red panda is also present in the region. One expedition found a surprising range of species in the region including a pika and ten new species of ants.

Everest Base Camp

"Everest Base Camp" is used to mean the two base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest. South Base Camp is in Nepal at an altitude of 5,364 metres (17,598 ft) (). North Base Camp is in Tibet at 5,150 metres (16,900 ft) (). These camps are simple campsite shelters at the bottom (or base) of the mountain. They are used by mountain climbers during their journey up or down the mountain. Supplies are provided there and climbers rest, heal and make trip preparations.

South Base Camp is used when climbing up the southeast ridge. North Base Camp is used when climbing up the northeast ridge.

Supplies are shipped to the South Base Camp by sherpas or porters, and with the help of animals, usually yaks. The North Base Camp has vehicle access (at least in the summer months). Climbers usually rest at base camp for several days for their bodies to get used to the thin air of high altitudes. This reduces the risks and severity of altitude sickness.

Short Rest on Everest Base Trail
Short Rest on Everest Base Trail

Climate

Mount Everest has a "snowy and frigid" climate. Winds can speed up to 177 mph (285 km/h). The coldest month is January with a high of −74 °F (−59 °C) and the warmest month in mount everest is July with a high of −10 °F (−23 °C). Because of climate change, the glaciers around Mount Everest may disappear over the next few decades.

Climate data for Mount Everest
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) -36
(-33)
-35
(-31)
-32
(-26)
-31
(-24)
-25
(-13)
-20
(-4)
-18
(-0)
-18
(-0)
-21
(-6)
-27
(-17)
-30
(-22)
-34
(-29)
-27.3
(-17.1)

History

A survey of India in 1856 recorded Everest. It was called Peak XV. This first published height was 8,840 m (29,000 ft). Everest was given its official English name in 1865 by the Royal Geographical Society.

British people began exploring the area around Mount Everest in 1921. The first expedition to try to climb to the top of Everest was in 1922. On June 8th, 1924, George Leigh Mallory and climbing partner Andrew Irvine tried to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. They disappeared into the fog and were not seen again until Mallory's dead body was found by Conrad Anker in 1999. To this day, no one is sure whether or not Mallory and Irvine made it to the summit before dying, 29 years before the next climbers would reach the summit.

The top of Mount Everest was first reached in May 1953 by the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and the New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary. This was after 31 years of British trials to get a man on top.

Sherpas

Sherpas are the local people who live at the foot of Mount Everest and not the porters who carry the climbers' luggage. For the Sherpas, Mount Everest is a sacred mountain and before they climb Mount Everest they always do a sacrificial offering.

Images for kids


Mount Everest Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.