We all know the answer to the question, “What’s the highest point on Earth?” – Mount Everest, right?
Well, not exactly.
- Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth reigns at an elevation of 29, 035 feet or 8, 849 metres above sea level.
- Compared to that, Mount Kea is only 13, 796 feet or 4,207.3 metres above sea level. But here’s the interesting part. While Mount Everest emerged directly from the surface of the Earth, Mount Kea originates from far below sea level. Mount Kea begins at about 19,700 feet below the Pacific Ocean, putting the total height of Mount Kea at 33,500 feet, more than 4,00o feet taller than the mighty Mount Everest!
- This technically makes Mount Kea the tallest mountain!
Let’s learn a little bit more about Mount Kea.
- Mount Kea is a dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii.
- This volcano is more than a million years old and passed its most active stage about a hundred thousand years ago. It erupted last time about 6,000 to 4,000 years ago.
- It is characterized by a more viscous lava due to which it is unexpectedly steep and also has a rougher topography compared to its neighbouring volcanoes.
- It is the highest point in the state of Hawai’i and is the second-highest island on planet Earth.
- The most amazing part about Mount Kea is that its position away from the hustle and bustle of crowds and cities provides one of the best views of the observable universe.
- Characterized by a dry environment, clear skies, stable airflow and minimal light pollution, if any, Mount Kea is an astronomers dream and has been utilized for that purpose.
- Since the construction of the access road, Mount Kea has received attention internationally. 11 countries have funded the establishment of 13 telescopes on this dormant volcano that is used regularly for extensive research work.
- It is known as the Mount Kea Observatories and is used to study the electromagnetic spectrum, making it one of the largest facilities dedicated to astronomy, in the world.
- It is also important to note that Hawaiians are a highly spiritual people and the peaks of the island are considered holy and sacred. In fact, an ancient law only permitted Hawaiian royalty to scale these mountains.
- With the development of the observatory, one can only imagine the level of changes that are taking place in the sacred land. The proposal of a 14th telescope was thus met with violent protests and the debate is still ongoing.