We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do Scientists Determine the World's Tallest Mountain?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At CulturalWorld.org, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Measuring mountains might not seem overly complicated, but there actually are several ways in which it can be done. Depending on which technique is used, the title of world's tallest mountain could go to any of several mountains in various regions of the world. Some scientists also heatedly debate the issue, arguing that their technique is the most accurate, conventional or widely accepted method. The world's tallest mountain differs depending on whether a mountain's height is measured from sea level, by vertical rise, from the base or even from the center of the Earth.

Measured from Sea Level

When most people think about the elevation of a mountain, they often visualize elevation from sea level, which also is one of the most widely accepted measuring techniques used when determining the world's highest mountain. People are familiar with sea level measurements because elevation is classically expressed as a distance from sea level on road signs, maps and textbooks. This also is an easy form of measurement to visualize. When measuring from sea level, Mount Everest is the uncontested world's tallest mountain, with a peak that is 29,035 feet (8,850 m) above sea level.

Measured from the Surrounding Terrain

Mount Everest has an advantage because it is situated on a high plateau, and the plateau's elevation above sea level is included in the height of the mountain when measured using this method. For people who are more interested in vertical rise from the surrounding terrain to the top of the mountain, Mount McKinley would be considered the tallest mountain. Although its maximum elevation above sea level is lower than that of Mount Everest, Mount McKinley's vertical rise is about 18,000 feet (5,500 m), compared with Mount Everest's rise of about 12,000 feet (3,700 m).

Measured from Its Base

Some people prefer to measure mountains from their base, no matter whether the base is above sea level. Measuring from its base at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, Mauna Kea likley is the world's tallest mountain, with a distance from the ocean floor to the top of the mountain being 33,476 feet (10,203 m). This beats out Mount Everest even though Mauna Kea's elevation is only 13,796 feet (4,205 m) at its peak.

Another contender using this method of measurement is Mount Lamlam, whose base is deep in the Marianas Trench, which is in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. There are differing reports of Mount Lamlam's measurement from base to top. The most extreme claims state that it is 37,820 feet (11,527 m) high, which would make Mount Lamlam higher than Mauna Kea and therefore the world's tallest mountain using this method of measurement.

Measured from the Center of the Earth

For people who prefer to measure from the center of the Earth, the world's tallest mountain is Chimborazo, which is 3,968 miles (6,384 km) from the center of the Earth at its peak, although its elevation is only 20,565 feet (6,268 m) above sea level. It is located in Ecuador, near the Earth's Equator, which gives it an advantage using this method of measurement, because the Earth bulges slightly in the middle. This means that the Earth's surface is farther away from its center near the Equator than in other places.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a CulturalWorld.org researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon170216 — On Apr 25, 2011

Mauna Kea in Hawaii. From base 19,684 ft below sea level, it rises 33,480. What is the elevation of its peak?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.