Britain has a new highest mountain after new satellite data revealed land surveys by polar explorers were nearly 400 metres out.
Mount Hope in the British Antarctic Territory was recently remeasured and found to be 377 metres (1,237 ft) taller than thought, meaning it overtakes Mount Jackson, the territory’s previous record holder, by 55 metres (180 ft).
At 3,239 metres (10,654 ft), Mount Hope on the part of the continent claimed by the UK towers above the highest mountain in the British Isles: Ben Nevis at 1,345 metres (4,411ft).
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said the discovery was made during surveys to update maps.
Adrian Fox, head of mapping and geographic information at BAS, said: “This is an exciting discovery within the British Antarctic Territory.
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“Modern satellite data highlights how inaccurate previous surveys and maps were for some parts of the region.
“As well as discovering Mount Hope is the highest mountain in the territory, we have identified several other interesting discoveries.
“These include new mountain heights, ranges in new locations by up to five kilometres and even some new peaks which hadn’t been surveyed before.
“Maps with reliable measurements of the highest peaks are an essential safety requirement for flight planning.
“Accurate elevation data from satellite imagery now allows us to produce these resources for Antarctica, where flying is difficult at the best of times.”
The tallest mountain in the Antarctic is Mount Vinson – which is not part of the British Antarctic Territory – at 4,892 m (16,050 ft).
Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for the Polar Regions, Sir Alan Duncan, said: “The discovery of Mount Hope as the UK’s tallest peak is a great example of British science making big steps forward in mapping techniques to help us get a better understanding of this fascinating region.”