The deadly quake in Nepal was so powerful that it has also changed the country’s landscape. Case in point: Mount Everest, which satellite data shows shrank after the disaster.
According to Europe’s Sentinel-1A radar satellite, which flew over the affected area on Wednesday, the day after the 7.8-magnitude quake, Earth’s highest mountain is now about an inch smaller than it used to be.
The reduction in height explained by a relief of strain in the Earth’s crust, it said citing UNAVCO, a nonprofit geology research consortium. Basically, things have relaxed deep in the Earth’s core after the quake, which has in turn shrunk the mountain.
But Everest is not the only geology to have changed after the quake. A region about 75 miles long and 37 miles wide near Nepal’s capital Kathmandu lifted about 3 feet, which partially explains the extensive damage the city suffered. The uplift peaked just 10 miles from the city.
The satellite data is still raw and will be analyzed by scientists over the next few weeks. Roger Bilham, a professor in geological sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, said he expects that the final shrinking of Mount Everest is probably just about one or two millimeters, once all the tremors and aftershocks subside.