The point on earth that’s closest to the moon is not the top of Mount Everest

MOUNT EVEREST IS THE TALLEST MOUNTAIN in the world, right? Well, sure. Sort of. No other mountain rises higher above sea level than Mount Everest, which stands at 29,035 feet. But if you were to use another standard — say, the point on earth that’s closest to the moon or outer space, or the point on earth that’s the farthest from the core of the planet — then Everest falls behind Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. But Mount Chimborazo only stands 20,548 feet above sea level. It’s not even one of the 10 tallest in South America. So how could this be?

The answer, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, has to do with the shape of the earth. Our planet is not a perfect sphere. It bulges a little bit in the middle, thanks to the rotation of the earth. This means that people who live along the equator are a bit further from the center of the earth — and a bit closer to outer space — than people at the poles. On a global scale, this difference is not huge. If you’re standing at sea level on the equator, you are 13 miles further from the center of the earth than someone standing at the poles.

But because Mount Chimborazo sits only a single latitudinal degree south of the equator, it gets a bit of a boost from the shape of the earth. So if you measure from the moon, Chimborazo is 1.5 miles closer than Everest.

By this standard, a lot of what we think about the world changes. For example, the Dead Sea (the lowest point on land on earth) is further from the core of the earth than Mt. McKinley, the highest point in North America.

Visiting the tallest mountains

Everest wins “tallest” in terms of altitude. But it’s a really difficult place to visit. It’s a notoriously difficult climb that has claimed the lives of a lot of accomplished alpinists. So a less experienced climber might want to try Chimborazo instead. But even the Ecuadoran Mountain is a technically difficult (if easier) climb.

Fortunately, there is yet another mountain taller than Mount Everest that you can go to with minimal difficulty. Measured from base to summit, the tallest mountain in the world stands at over 33,000 feet. And you can drive your car right up to the top.

It’s Mauna Kea, the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. About 20,000 feet of its height is underwater, so you won’t have to deal as much with the altitude as you would on the other mountains. And you can go up and down in a couple of hours.

What is the highest point on Earth as measured from Earth's center?

The highest point above Earth’s center is the peak of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo, located just one degree south of the Equator where Earth’s bulge is greatest. | Infographic Text

Earth is not a perfect sphere, but is a bit thicker at the Equator due to the centrifugal force created by the planet’s constant rotation. Because of this, the highest point above Earth’s center is the peak of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo, located just one degree south of the Equator where Earth’s bulge is greatest. The summit of Chimborazo is 20,564 feet above sea level. However, due to the Earth’s bulge, the summit of Chimborazo is over 6,800 feet farther from the center of the Earth than Everest’s peak. That makes Chimborazo the closest point on Earth to the stars. В

You may be surprised to learn that Everest is not the tallest mountain on Earth, either. That honor belongs to Mauna Kea, a volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea originates deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, and rises more than 33,500 feet from base to peak.

Highest point on the Moon found: Higher than Mount Everest

Space boffins say they have identified the highest point on the Moon, and that it stands higher above the lunar surface than the summit of Mount Everest does above Earth's.

According to Mark Robinson, chief of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) camera team:

The selenean summit was identified using an instrument known as the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) also mounted on the moon-circling LRO satellite. As the LRO sweeps along just 30 miles above the lunar surface (it can orbit so low due to the lack of any atmosphere) the LOLA laser generates a record of the peaks and troughs beneath.

Once the LOLA had identified the lunar highpoint's general vicinity, an allied team of boffins in charge of the spacecraft's camera took over for the final precision fix.

Though it is actually higher than the peak of Mount Everest, as the photo shows the moon's topmost spot is far less dramatic - more in the nature of a high plain or plateau, with the ground sloping away around it at no more than 3° according to Robinson (apart from impact craters). It lies near the Engel'gardt crater on the fringe of the Korolev plain, on the lunar far side. Robinson considers that it was probably formed by ejecta - molten rock - piled up during the cataclysmic South Pole-Aitken meteor impact over four billion years ago.

The LRO was launched back when NASA was still expecting to send humans back to the Moon in the near future, and perhaps to establish permanent inhabited bases there. Thus it was of the first importance to thoroughly map the surface, in order to avoid hairy landings into the unknown like those made by the early Apollo astronauts.

Though President Obama has now decreed that there will be no return to the Moon, the LRO has still made many interesting discoveries. ®

The Stories About the Dead Bodies

Green boots- sadly green boots has never officially been identified but he is believed to be Tsewang Paljor, an Indian climber who died on Everest in 1996. The term Green Boots originated from the green Koflach mountaineering boots on his feet.

David Sharp was attempting to summit Everest on his own. He had stopped to rest in Green Boots’ cave, as so many had done before him. Over the course of several hours, he froze to death, his body stuck in a huddled position. at least 40 people passed by Sharp that day and saw that we was in distress. Not one of them stopped.

George Mallory’s corpse was found 75 years after his 1924 death. Mallory had attempted to be the first person to climb Everest, but he disappeared before anyone found out if he had achieved his goal. His body was found in 1999, his upper torso, half of his legs, and his left arm almost perfectly preserved

Hannelore Schmatz she came the first german and first woman to perish on the mountain. Schmatz had actually reached her goal of summiting the mountain, before ultimately succumbing to exhaustion on the way down. Despite her Sherpa’s warning, she set up camp within the death zone.

Francys Arsentiev became the first woman from the United States to reach the summit of Mount Everest without the aid of bottled oxygen, on May 22, 1998. She then died during the descent. n the morning of May 23, Francys Arsentiev was encountered by an Uzbek team who were climbing the final few hundred meters to the summit. She appeared to be half-conscious, affected by oxygen deprivation and frostbite. As she was unable to move on her own, they attended to her with oxygen and carried her down as far as they could, until, depleted of their own oxygen, they became too tired to continue the effort. Francys was still alive.


  • 1 Geography
    • 1.1 Location
    • 1.2 Glaciers
    • 1.3 Elevation
    • 1.4 Farthest point from Earth's center
  • 2 Geology
  • 3 Volcanism
  • 4 History
    • 4.1 SAETA Flight 232
  • 5 Etymology
  • 6 Mountaineering
    • 6.1 Routes
    • 6.2 Huts
    • 6.3 Climbing
  • 7 Cultural references
  • 8 See also
  • 9 Notes
  • 10 References
  • 11 External links

Location Edit

Chimborazo is in the Chimborazo Province of Ecuador, 150 km (93 mi) south-southwest of the city Quito, Ecuador. It is a neighbor to 5,018 m (16,463 ft) high Carihuairazo. Chimborazo's summit rises 2,500 m (8,202 ft) above the surrounding highlands (

3,500 to 4,000 m (11,483 to 13,123 ft)) with a ≈20 km (12 mi) wide base.

Under clear conditions, the summit of Chimborazo can be seen from the coastal city Guayaquil, nearly 140 km (87 mi) away. The nearest cities are Riobamba (

30 km to the northeast) and Guaranda (

25 km to the southwest). Chimborazo is surrounded by the Reserva de Produccion Faunistica Chimborazo, which forms a protected ecosystem to preserve the habitat for the Andes native camelids of vicuña, llama and alpaca.

Chimborazo is at the main end of the Ecuadorian Volcanic Arc, north west of the town of Riobamba. Chimborazo is in la Avenida de los Volcanes (the Avenue of Volcanoes) west of the Sanancajas mountain chain. Carihuairazo, Tungurahua, Tulabug, and El Altar are all mountains that neighbor Chimborazo. The closest mountain peak, Carihuairazo, is 5.8 mi (9.3 km) from Chimborazo. [ citation needed ] There are many microclimates near Chimborazo, varying from desert in the Arenal to the humid mountains in the Abraspungo valley. [6]

Glaciers Edit

The top of Chimborazo is completely covered by glaciers, with some north-eastern glacier arms flowing down to 4,600 m. Its glacier is the source of water for the population of the Bolivar and Chimborazo provinces of Ecuador. Chimborazo glacier's ice mass has decreased over the past decades, which is thought by some to be due to the combined influences of global warming, ash covers from recent volcanic activity [note 2] of Tungurahua, and the El Niño phenomenon. [8] [9]

As on other glaciated Ecuadorian mountains, Chimborazo's glacial ice is mined by locals (the so-called Hieleros from Spanish Hielo for Ice) to be sold in the markets of Guaranda and Riobamba. In earlier days, the people transported ice for cooling uses down to coastal towns such as Babahoyo or Vinces. [10]

Elevation Edit

With an elevation of 6,263 m (20,548 ft), [note 1] Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador and the Andes north of Peru, it is higher than any more northerly summit in the Americas.

Farthest point from Earth's center Edit

The summit of Mount Everest is higher above sea level, but the summit of Chimborazo is widely reported to be the farthest point on the surface from Earth's center, [12] [13] [note 3] with Huascarán a very close second.

The summit of Chimborazo is the fixed point on Earth that has the utmost distance from the center – because of the oblate spheroid shape of the planet Earth, which is thicker around the Equator than measured around the poles. [note 4] Chimborazo is one degree south of the Equator and the Earth's diameter at the Equator is greater than at the latitude of Everest (8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level), nearly 27.6° north, with sea level also elevated. Despite being 2,585 m (8,481 ft) lower in elevation above sea level, it is 6,384.4 km (3,967.1 mi) from the Earth's center, 2,163 m (7,096 ft) farther than the summit of Everest (6,382.3 km (3,965.8 mi) from the Earth's center). [note 5] However, by height above sea level, Chimborazo is not the highest peak of the Andes.

Vicuña, one of two wild South American camelids.

Chimborazo volcano, the closest point to the Sun.

Chimborazo is an ice-capped inactive volcano in Ecuador. Chimborazo is a double volcano composed of one volcanic edifice on top of another. [14] Chimborazo shows four summits, Whymper, Veintimilla, Politecnica, and Nicolas Martínez. The Whymper peak is the highest point on the mountain at 6,263 meters. The Veintimilla peak is about 6,234 m (20,453 ft) high. The Politecnica peak is 5,820 m (19,094 ft) high. The last peak, Nicolas Martínez, is 5,570 m (18,274 ft) high and was named after the father of Ecuadorian mountaineering. The volcano is categorized as a stratovolcano. [14] This type of volcano is characterized as having low slopes at the bottom that gradually get steeper the higher up the mountain. [15] Chimborazo has a circumference of 78 miles (126 km) and a diameter of 30 miles (48 km). Chimborazo's upper elevations are covered in glaciers that are decreasing in size due to climate change and falling ash from the nearby volcano, Tungurahua. In addition to the glaciers, the volcano is covered with craters. The volcano is dominantly andesitic to dacitic. This means that the lava is blocky, or flowing down the sides of the volcano, or somewhere in between. [16]

Chimborazo is 73.5 metres higher than the highest mountain in North America. Chimborazo is often associated with the nearby volcano Cotopaxi, although the two volcanoes have completely different structures.

Chimborazo is a dominantly andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano. About 35,000 years ago a collapse of Chimborazo produced a debris avalanche with an average thickness of forty meters. which underlies the city of Riobamba. It temporarily dammed the Rio Chambo, causing an ephemeral lake. [14]

Chimborazo then erupted several times during the Holocene, the last time around 550 AD ± 150 years. [4] The eruptions after the collapse were primarily andesitic, or blocky, coagulated lava flow. These eruptions produced pyroclastic surges that went down as far as 3800 meters altitude. [14] There have been at least seven eruptions in the past 10000 years. Chimborazo is officially considered inactive, but studies show that there may be an eruption in the future. [ citation needed ] The average time between eruptions for Chimborazo is 1000 years, [ citation needed ] and the last eruption was 1400 years ago.

Until the beginning of the 19th century, it was thought that Chimborazo was the highest mountain on Earth (measured from sea level), and such reputation led to many attempts on its summit during the 17th and 18th centuries.

In 1746, the volcano was explored by French academicians from the French Geodesic Mission. Their mission was to determine the sphericity of the Earth. Their work along with another team in Lapland established that the Earth was an oblate spheroid rather than a true sphere. They did not reach the summit of Chimborazo.

In June 1802, during his expedition to South America, the Prussian-born traveler Alexander von Humboldt, accompanied by the French botanist Aimé Bonpland and the Ecuadorian Carlos Montúfar, tried to reach the summit. [17] From his description of the mountain, it seems that before he and his companions had to return suffering from altitude sickness they reached a point at 5,875 m, higher than previously attained by any European in recorded history (Incans had reached much higher altitudes previously, see Llullaillaco). In 1831, Jean Baptiste Boussingault and Colonel Hall reached a new "highest point", estimated to be 6,006 m. [18] [19]

Other failed attempts to reach the summit followed.

On 4 January 1880, the English climber Edward Whymper reached the summit of Chimborazo. [20] The route that Whymper took up the mountain is now known as the Whymper route. Edward Whymper, and his Italian guides Louis Carrel and Jean-Antoine Carrel, were the first Europeans to summit a mountain higher than 20,000 feet (6,100 m). [21] As there were many critics who doubted that Whymper had reached the summit, later in the same year he climbed to the summit again, choosing a different route (Pogyos) with the Ecuadorians David Beltrán and Francisco Campaña. [22]

SAETA Flight 232 Edit

In August 1976, SAETA Flight 232 carrying 55 passengers and four crew members aboard a Vickers Viscount from Quito to Cuenca disappeared en route. In February 2003, after almost 27 years, [23] the aircraft was found with the bodies of its 59 occupants at 5,310 metres (17,420 ft) elevation on Chimborazo by Ecuadorian climbers on the rarely used eastern route Integral. [24]

Several theories regarding the origin of the name Chimborazo exist. In many dialects of Quichua or Quechua, "chimba" means "on the other side" as in "on the other side of the river" or "on the opposite bank." Other dialects pronounce this word "chimpa." Also, "razu" means "ice" or "snow." Local Quichua speakers will say that Chimborazo is a Hispanicized pronunciation of "chimbarazu," meaning "the snow on the other side." [25] Another theory suggests it is a combination of the Cayapa Schingbu for Women and the Colorado/Quichua Razo for Ice/Snow resulting in Women of Ice. According to another, Chimbo is Jívaro for Throne of Master/God resulting in Icethrone of God. The locals also used to call the mountain Urcurazu, with the Quichua Urcu for Mountain resulting in Mountain of Ice. [26] In local indigenous mysticism, Chimborazo represents Taita (Father) whereas neighbouring Tungurahua is seen as Mama, hence Taita Chimborazo and Mama Tungurahua.

As Ecuador's highest mountain, Chimborazo is a very popular climb and can be climbed year round with the best seasons being December–January and July–August.

Routes Edit

The easiest (IFAS Grade: PD) and most climbed routes are the Normal and the Whymper route. Both are western ridge routes starting at the Whymper hut and leading via the Ventemilla summit to the main (Whymper) summit. There are several other less used and more challenging routes on the other mountains faces and ridges leading to one of Chimborazo's summits: Main (Whymper, Ecuador), Politecnico (Central), N. Martinez (Eastern). The mountain is contained on the IGM (Instituto Geografico Militar) 1:50000 Map Chimborazo (CT-ÑIV-C1). [2]

Huts Edit

There are two functioning huts, the Carrel Hut (4,850 m) and the nearby Whymper Hut (5,000 m). The Carrel Hut can be reached by car from Riobamba, Ambato or Guaranda. On the north-west side there is the now defunct Zurita hut (4,900 m), which served as base for the Pogyos route. [26]

Climbing Edit

El Castillo is the most popular route up the volcano. This route is usually climbed December to February and June to September. This route involves climbing the west side of the volcano. The route starts at Whymper hut to a saddle above El Castillo. From the saddle, there is a glacier ridge. Then climbers go to the Veintemilla summit. Veintemilla summit is often the turnaround point for climbers. There is a 30-minute snow-filled basin between Veintemilla summit and Whymper summit. Whymper summit is the highest point of the mountain. The El Castillo route takes around eight to twelve hours to ascend and about three to five hours to descend. Climbing Chimborazo is dangerous due to the risk of avalanches, the severe weather conditions, and the fact that it is covered in glaciers. Climbing begins at night in order to reach the summit before sunrise when the snow melts, which increases the chance of avalanche and rockfall.

The climb itself demands skill. The climb is often on black ice, so crampons and other technical climbing equipment are required. On November 10, 1993 three parties of climbers, one ascending and two descending, were caught in an avalanche on the steep slopes below the Veintimilla summit. This avalanche buried ten climbers in a crevasse at 18,700 feet (5,700 m). These climbers comprised six French, two Ecuadorians, one Swiss, and one Chilean. After the ten climbers were buried in snow, it took twenty people and ten days to find their bodies. This was considered the worst climbing accident in Ecuador. [21]

6 Answers 6

This is an interesting question, but it lacks a key factor that is crucial to the answer: TIME.

The point on Earth closest to the Sun varies through time, so the question can be asked about any moment in time, or over periods of time. Let's analyze the factors involved.

At any given moment in time, the point on Earth's surface that is closest to the Sun is what is called the “subsolar point”. This point corresponds to the point on the surface that intersects the imaginary line that connects the center of the Earth to the center of the Sun. In other words, the subsolar point correspond to the point on Earth surface where the sunlight hits the Earth perpendicular to the ground, therefore, a vertical object would project no shadow.

The longitude of the subsolar point corresponds to that of the meridian experiencing solar noon. Over Greenwich (longitude 0°) that happens at the actual noon, and as the Earth rotates 15° every hour, that will happen one our later (at 13:00 h UTC) at longitude 15° W, two hours later (at 14:00 h UTC) at longitude 30° W, and so on. In general terms, you can use the following formula for the subsolar point longitude ( $ ext_< ext>$ ).

This is a simplified formula, but accurate enough for our purpose. Let's take as an example the following date

July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC

In that moment, the longitude of the subsolar point was 124° 15' West:

Finding the latitude of the subsolar point is a bit more complicated, we need to know the declination of the Sun. Declination is the equivalent of latitude for celestial coordinates. For that, use a formula, a table, or a online calculator like the NOAA Solar Position Calculator.

Just enter the date, and even that the location doesn't matter here, we need to select “Enter Lat/Long -->” to be allowed to enter the offset to UTC as 0, otherwise the time won't be interpreted as UTC time.

From there we can find that the solar declination for our example date is 20.58° (20° 34') which corresponds to the latitude of the subsolar point: 20° 34' North.

Therefore, on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC, the subsolar point was at 20° 34' N, 124° 15' W, which is somewhere between Mexico and Hawaii. That was the point on Earth closest to the Sun at that moment.

Now, what would happen if there were a very tall mountain close to the subsolar point? Would that mountain be closer to the Sun?

The answer is: probably. It depends on how far and how much higher it is relative to the subsolar point.

We can do a quick calculation based on the following diagram (in this approximation we assume that Earth is spherical, that the sun is infinitely far away and other simplifications)

After some algebra you can write that the extra height $Delta H$ needed to be as close to the Sun as the subsolar point is

$Delta H = r left(1-cosleft(frac ight) ight)$

Where $D$ is the distance and $r$ is Earth's radius (in this case makes sense to use the equatorial radius of 6378.1 km)

If we plot this equation we get the following

(the vertical axis is logarithmic)

We can see that around 10 km away from the subsolar point,

10 meters are enough to be closer than it to the Sun.

3,000 m at 200 km, and if you go further than 340 km, not even Mount Everest will get you closer to the Sun.

So, the closest point to the Sun will be whatever geographical feature that maximizes the value $ ext-Delta H$ , where $ ext$ is the altitude of the geographical feature. Let's call that point “proxisolar” point. I just made up that name, but it will be handy for the following discussion.

Now that we understand the basis to establish what is the closest point to the Sun at a given moment, we can tackle the question that probably most people meant when asking this question:

Watch the video: 360: Climbing Mount Everest

Previous Article

18 signs you’ve been away from Buffalo too long

Next Article

30 photos of the American Southwest we can’t stop looking at