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World Roof Still Young in Geological Age

A Chinese scientist said Friday that the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is still very young compared to other geological formations.

Fang Xiaomin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, said in an interview with Xinhua that the world's highest plateau rose to its height roughly eight million years ago.

A collision between the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Continent Plate 40 million years ago shaped the plateau and its surrounding geological features, Fang said.

Studies of ancient Asian monsoons and highland loess have proven the plateau's age, the professor said.

The Himalayas continue to rise by an average of 10 millimeters annually, Fang said. Mount Qomolangma, whose current official height is 8,848 meters, is higher than its peers on the same plateau.

Fang also said that the two plates of the Earth's crust are still colliding. This means that the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau moves north by more than 20 millimeters and upwards by several millimeters each year.

Chinese scientists are now measuring the height of Mount Qomolangma. They have prepared for the final summit ascent and precise measurement for two months.

Some members of the climbing team and scientists from the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping are scheduled to climb Friday from 7,790-meter-high base camp at the foot of Mount Qomolangma, said Zhang Jiangyuan, chief coordinator for the expedition.
(Xinhua News Agency May 21, 2005)

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