Mountains are among the world’s greatest marvels, whether you like to admire them from a distance or go for a walk on the trails. Mountains are one of the earth’s most magnificent sights, but they can be so massive that even seasoned hikers get dizzy thinking about scaling all the way to the top.
So, exactly how big can the tallest mountains in the world get? Today, we’ll look at ten of the world’s biggest mountains and rate them according to how tall they are. We’ll also learn some fascinating information on the flora that thrives around each one, as well as what it is famous for!
As we can see Mount Everest is still number one on our list, even though it’s losing ground each passing year – by 22 cm (8,7 inches) – as the Indo-Australian Plate continues moving north. Mount Damavand (Iran) is also losing height, as it gets pulled down by the continuing northward movement of Asia’s two plates. Currently, it’s a mere 35 m (115 ft) shorter than Everest, but with an average yearly loss of 4 cm (1,5 inches), experts expect it to lose its place as the highest volcano on the list in about 100 years.
Right after Everest, we can see Mauna Kea (Hawaii) and Mount Ararat (Turkey/Armenia), that both lost height over last century. While in case of Mauna Kea the reason is also known: it’s because it gets pulled down by the Pacific Plate, Mount Ararat experiences frequent landslides and is slowly losing height.
Other mountains that lost height over the last century are Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) – 3,2 cm/year), El Misti (Peru) – 2,4 cm/year). Ruwenzori Mountains (Uganda) are falling some 7 cm/year, while in case of Mount St. Elias (Alaska) the reason is erosion.
As for Mount McKinley (U.S.), there is no clear data on whether it’s gaining or losing height, as recently NASA released two different measurements – one based on satellite altimetry and GPS surveying (it’s falling), and the other based on old fashion triangulation using benchmarks on the mountain (it’s rising).
Mount Logan (Canada) is one of the few peaks that is gaining height at a rate of about 2 cm per year. It’s because it’s pushing northwards even faster than North America is moving.
What about Mount Everest? Well, it’s currently rising at the rate of about 4 mm per year. But if you consider only the top 40 cm (16 inches), it’s actually falling, as all the snow and ice that accumulates on its peak is steadily melting away. Maybe this year or next one will be your lucky chance to call yourself a mountain climber!