Which mountain is the highest in the world? It depends on how you measure them. There are two mountains that claim to be the highest in the world. The summit of Mount Everest is higher above sea level than the summit of any other mountain, but Mauna Kea is the highest when measured from base to summit. Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii, is the world’s tallest mountain measured from its base, deep in the Pacific Ocean, to its summit. The discussion of height rests on the fact that most of Mauna Kea in Hawaii is under water, and therefore measuring from the aforementioned sea level does not do justice to the sheer size.
The summit of Mauna Kea is 4,205 meters above sea level, but it extends approximately 6,000 meters below the surface of the water. Therefore, the total height is 10,210 meters, which is almost one and a half kilometers more than Mount Everest, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Thus, it falls into the list of the highest mountains in the world.
In Hawaiian, Mauna Kea means “White Mountain” and its snowy peak attracts skiers and snowboarders. Its lower slopes are popular areas for hunting, hiking, sightseeing and bird watching.
The location near the equator makes Mauna Kea an excellent astronomical observation site. Low humidity and clear skies make weather conditions near the top of the volcano almost ideal for many of the world’s leading space observatories. The mountain’s distance from city lights and the island’s stark illumination also help provide the atmospheric clarity that telescopes require.
Mauna Kea is currently home to 13 telescopes, including the NASA Infrared Telescopes, Caltech Observatory and Japan’s Subaru Telescope, as well as the Keck Interferometer Telescope, the largest telescope with a single mirror in the world. The Mauna Kea Center webcams allow online viewers to witness these stellar observatories in action.
The summit of Mauna Kea holds another record. In addition to being the top of the highest mountain in the world, it is also home to the largest astronomical observatory in the world. This observatory is located above 40% of the Earth’s atmosphere. The atmosphere at the top of the mountain is extremely dry and almost free of clouds. This makes it an ideal location for an observatory. This is one of the few places where you can see snow in the Hawaiian area — the height is high enough and cold enough to accumulate snow.
In Hawaiian mythology, the peaks of the island of Hawaii are sacred, and Mauna Kea is one of the most sacred. An ancient law allowed only high-ranking tribal leaders to visit this peak. The ancient Hawaiians living on the slopes of Mauna Kea relied on its extensive forests for food and quarried the basalt from its slopes to make tools. In recent years, concerns about the vulnerability of the native species have led to court cases that have forced the Department of Land and Natural Resources to eradicate all wild species on the mountain.