What is the farthest point from the center of the Earth

Mt. Everest is the highest peak on the planet and so it is reasonable to assume that the peak of Mt. Everest is the farthest point from the center of our planet. However, the peak of Chimborazo volcano in Ecuador is the actual farthest point. This is true despite Mt. Everest being 29,029 ft above sea level and Chimborazo being just 20,549 ft above sea level. In fact, Chimborazo is not even the highest mountain in the Andes mountain range that it is a part of.


Elevation of Mt. Everest and Mt. Chimborazo relative to sea level
Why is a shorter peak farther away?
Chimborazo's location along the equator of the Earth is the reason why it takes the honor of being the farther point from the center. 
Like most celestial bodies, Earth is rapidly spinning on its own axis and this rotation causes a bulge along the equator, commonly known as equatorial bulge. This bulge makes the Earth 42.77 kilometers wider along the equator than it is along the poles. This means that any point near the equator is going to be farther away from the center of the planet than any point near the poles. 
The image above shows the approximate positions of these two peaks. Chimborazo is ~1° south of the equator whereas Everest is ~28° north of the equator. This proximity to the equator results in Chimborazo's peak being much farther away from the center of the Earth. 

1 comment: