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SCIENCE FILE | I Didn't Know That

June 26, 1997

Q: What is the biggest mountain in the world?

A: That depends on how you define the question, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The HIGHEST mountain on Earth is Mt. Everest in the Himalayas. It stands 29,028 feet above sea level.

The TALLEST mountain, however, as measured from base to summit, is the volcanic peak of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It is about 30,000 feet tall, but only 13,796 feet of that is above sea level.

The point FARTHEST from the center of the Earth is the summit of Chimborazo volcano in the Andes of Ecuador. Its summit is only 20,703 feet, but it gets a boost because of the bulging of the Earth at the equator. That bulge makes the Earth's radius at the equator 68,900 feet greater than at the poles. In fact, the beaches of Ecuador are farther from the center of the Earth than the peak of Mt. Everest.

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