In Spring 2012, a team of world-class climbers will attempt to summit Mount Everest. Team member Dr. Dave Lageson, a Montana State University professor of geology, plans a rigorous scientific component to complement the expedition's climbing goals.
The team is partnering with Montana NSF EPSCoR to produce an education and public outreach program that reaches schools and citizens throughout Montana and beyond. The focus of this outreach is the science of Everest, particularly glaciology, geology, weather, climate change, and high-altitude physiology.
We aspire to see students in Montana and beyond who are inspired by the science of Everest and engaged in exploring connections between the high Himalaya and their own Montana ecosystems. We envision a broad cohort of classrooms that follow the climbers throughout their journey, as well as a lasting legacy of science-rich content for future students and teachers. Scientific research on the geology of Mount Everest will be a significant component of the Everest Education Expedition, as it was with the first American expedition to Everest in 1963. Previous research in the Everest region is limited in scope due to the obvious difficulties of conducting field work under extreme conditions of elevation and topography. The research agenda will be directed towards gaining a better idea of the age of Mount Everest and rocks that comprise the massif; collecting a suite of samples to better date and describe the fossil-bearing marine limestones that form the summit pyramid of Everest; studying the major faults that cut through Mount Everest to better understand how and when they formed (in particular, the Qomolangma and Lhotse detachment faults); and, hopefully, measuring a new GPS-based elevation of the summit of Mount Everest with the most modern and accurate equipment availabl?e