Tallest peak on Earth
Tallest Mountain: The base of Mauna Kea is about 6000 meters below sea level and the summit is about 4000 meters above sea level. The distance between the foot of the mountain and the summit is about 10, 000 meters. This makes Mauna Kea the "tallest" mountain in the world.
Snow in Hawaii ? Satellite view of the island of Hawaii. The two snow caps are Mauna Loa (center) and Mauna Kea (to the north). Image by NASA.
Mauna Kea has an altitude of 4, 205 meters (13, 796 feet) - much lower than Mount Everest. However, Mauna Kea is an island and if the distance from the bottom of the nearby Pacific Ocean floor to the peak of the island is measured, then Mauna Kea is "taller" than Mount Everest.
Mauna Kea is over 10, 000 meters tall compared to 8, 848 meters for Mount Everest - making it the "world's tallest mountain".
Astronomical Observatories on Mauna Kea: The summit of Mauna Kea holds other distinctions. In addition to being the summit of the world's "tallest" mountain, it is also the home of the world's largest astronomical observatory. At an elevation of nearly 14, 000 feet above sea level, the observatory is above 40% of Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere above the mountain is extremely dry and almost cloud free. This makes it an ideal location for an observatory. And, yes, that is snow on the ground in Hawaii - the altitude is high enough and cold enough to accumulate snow. Photo © GeorgeBurba, iStockphoto.