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Special Interest Forums => Science, Space & Technology => Topic started by: Kiwithrottlejockey on August 12, 2010, 03:54:40 pm

Title: New Zealand's highest mountain is??
Post by: Kiwithrottlejockey on August 12, 2010, 03:54:40 pm

Which mountain tops NZ for you?

A Christchurch Boys' High School year 10 maths class will
set the country, especially North Islanders, buzzing after
working out Mount Ruapehu is higher than Mount Cook.

By PAUL GORMAN Science Reporter - The Press | 5:00AM - Thursday, 12 August 2010

MOUNTAIN HIGH: Christchurch Boys' High School pupils Mathew Clarke, left, Griffin Foster-Morris, Ben Cartwright
and Eugene Yang say mountain height is a matter of perspective. DEAN KOZANIC/The Press.

MOUNT RUAPEHU higher than Mount Cook?

That is the discovery that has left a Christchurch Boys' High School year 10 maths class stunned and which will set the country, especially North Islanders, buzzing.

According to the class's research, since verified by Canterbury University and now on display at the Cantamath competition, the summit of Mount Ruapehu (2797 metres above sea level) is about 600m closer to the stars than the 3754m tip of what is traditionally our highest peak. Even Mount Taranaki is about 200m higher.

It is all about perception. Like the Wizard of Christchurch's upside-down map of the world, which put the South Island in the middle and at the top, there are different ways of looking at the height of mountains.

As part of their trigonometry class work, the pupils measured how far it was from the centre of the Earth to the top of Mount Cook and other New Zealand peaks. They found it was 6371.74km for Mount Cook, but 6372.37km for Mount Ruapehu and 6372.09km for Mount Taranaki. Using the same method, others have found the world's tallest mountain is not Mount Everest (6382.25km) but Ecuador's Mount Chimborazo (6384.45km).

Pupil Mathew Clarke said the spin of the Earth, at about 1670km/h, caused it to bulge out around the equator in the shape of what was called an "oblate spheroid". For that reason, mountain summits closer to the equator were further from the centre of the Earth, he said.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the bulge makes the Earth's radius about 21km greater at the equator than at the poles.

Teacher Ian Millar said the class's calculations "absolutely bewildered us".

"We had to double-check."

"I didn't believe it and nobody else seemed to believe what we'd found out."

Millar took the readings to Canterbury University physics research fellow Bob Hurst for verification.

Hurst confirmed the findings and said it was the first time he had seen the calculations for New Zealand mountains.

The project was highly commended by Cantamath judges.

Cantamath chairwoman Kiri Dillon said more than 1300 entries had been received from year 6 to 10 pupils and more than 500 had won prizes.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/4015234/Which-mountain-tops-NZ-for-you (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/4015234/Which-mountain-tops-NZ-for-you)

Title: Re: New Zealand's highest mountain is??
Post by: guest49 on September 23, 2010, 12:38:44 pm
I spent many years in my youth, climbing mountains.  I dont recall ever commencing at the centre of the earth........... ;)