The United Kingdom’s highest mountain was not, as is commonly mistaken, Ben Nevis in Scotland. It was, in fact, Mount Jackson, a 3,184m peak located in the southern part of the Antarctic Peninsula. But a new announcement, made just in time for UN International Mountain Day on 11 December, now places Mount Hope at the summit of the UK’s relief.
The news comes after mapmakers at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) took another look at the mountain because of concerns for the safety of pilots flying across the continent. Lacking roads, the most common way to traverse Antarctica is by plane and for this reason it is important to have accurately knowledge of the exact location and height of the continent’s many mountains.
However, in the past the remote location and hazardous conditions of Antarctica has made this branch of cartography an inexact science.
To put the new measurements in context, the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, stands at 8,848m. Mount Hope is relatively small in comparison, measuring 3,239m, yet it towers over Ben Nevis, which at 1,345m is barely more than a third of the size.
This new classification was possible thanks to the use of satellite technology called ‘photogrammetry’. As well as mapping the height of the peaks, the technology was also able to produce more accurate locations for some mountain ranges that with previous methods could have been as much as 5km off recorded positions.
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