Mount Everest, located in Nepal and Tibet, is usually said to be the highest mountain on Earth. Reaching 29,029 feet at its summit, Everest is indeed the highest point above global mean sea level—the average level for the ocean surface from which elevations are measured. But the summit of Mt. Everest is not the farthest point from Earth’s center.
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.
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.
The answer is debatable.
- Mount Everest's peak is the highest altitude above mean sea level at 29,029 feet [8,848 meters].
- Mount Chimborazo's peak is the furthest point on Earth from Earth's center. The summit is over 6,800 feet [2,072 meters] farther from Earth's center than Mount Everest's summit.
- Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain from base to peak at more than 33,500 feet [10,210 meters].