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# In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest

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In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 13 Nov 2018, 20:59
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In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest, the highest of the Himalayan mountains. Like the British in 1852, they used the age-old technique of “carrying in” sea level: surveyors marched inland from the coast for thousands of miles, stopping at increments of as little as a few feet to measure their elevation, and marking each increment with two poles. To measure the difference in elevation between poles, surveyors used an optical level—a telescope on a level base—placed halfway between the poles. They sighted each pole, reading off measurements that were then used to calculate the change in elevation over each increment. In sight of the peaks the used theodolites telescopes for measuring vertical and horizontal angles—to determine the elevation of the summit.
The Chinese, however, made efforts to correct for the errors that had plagued the British. One source of error is refraction, the bending of light beams as they pass through air layers of different temperature and pressure. Because light traveling. down from a summit passes through many such layers, a surveyor could sight a mirage rather than the peak itself. To reduce refraction errors, the Chinese team carried in sea level to within five to twelve miles of Everest’s summit, decreasing the amount of air that light passed through on its way to their theodolites. The Chinese also launched weather balloons near their theodolites to measure atmospheric temperature and pressure changes to better estimate refraction errors. Another hurdle is the peak’s shape. When surveyors sight the summit. there is a risk they might not all measure the same point. In 1975 the Chinese installed the first survey beacon on Everest, a red reflector visible through a theodolite for ten miles, as a reference point. One more source of error is the unevenness of sea level. The British assumed that carrying in sea level would extend an imaginary line from the shore along Earth’s curve to a point beneath the Himalaya. In reality, sea level varies according to the irregular interior of the planet. The Chinese used a gravity meter to correct for local deviations in sea level.
Q32 It can be inferred from the passage that refraction would be most likely to cause errors in measurements of a mountain’s elevation under which of the following conditions?
A. When there are local variations in sea level
B. When light passes through humid air
C. When theodolites are used relatively far from the mountain peak.
D. When weather balloons indicate low air temperature and pressure.
E. When sea level has been carried in to Within five to twelve miles of the summit.

Which of the following best describes the purpose of the sentence in lines 23-25 (“The Chinese , however,…the British”)?
A. Introduce a definition
B. Signal a transition in focus
C. Summarize the preceding paragraph
D. Draw a contrast between two different theories.
E. Present information that contradicts the Preceding paragraph.

Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a possible source of error in surveying mountain elevation?
A. Mirages
B. Refraction
C. Inaccurate instruments
D. Variations in sea level
E. Uncertainty about the exact point to be Measured

Q35 The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. provide details about improvements to a process
B. challenge the assumptions underlying a new method
C. criticize the way in which a failed project was carried out
D. call for new methods to solve an existing problem
E. explain the theory behind a new technique

The passage suggests which of the following about the technique used by the Chinese in their measurement of Mount Everest?

A. The Chinese employed the same assumptions about sea level as the British but used more accurate methods.
B. The Chinese used a different instrument for measuring the difference in elevation between increments than the British had.
C. The Chinese used the same basic technique as the British, supplementing it with modern refinements to knowledge and methods.
D. Since the accuracy of the technique of carrying in sea level had been challenged, the Chinese were obliged to develop a new technique to replace it.

Originally posted by IEsailor on 19 May 2011, 01:10.
Last edited by gmat1393 on 13 Nov 2018, 20:59, edited 2 times in total.
formatted
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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04 Jul 2017, 12:27
2
Quite a controversial question. Though, my reasoning is more inclined towards answer choice C for the first problem. But, I still don't understand how come OA is D.

A -> not an issue
B -> type of air that would cause disturbance is not mentioned
D -> see B
E -> confuses info (see C)
C -> "To reduce refraction errors, the Chinese team carried in sea level to within five to twelve miles of Everest’s summit, decreasing the amount of air that light passed through on its way to their theodolites." so they needed to get close to get a good measurement.
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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23 Aug 2011, 02:16
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i think the OA is ... DBCA
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2017, 18:49
1
Skywalker18 wrote:
Took around 8 mins 20 seconds , including 4 mins to read . Got the first question incorrect . In my opinion, OA D seems contentious .

Q32. It can be inferred from the passage that refraction would be most likely to cause errors in measurements of a mountain’s elevation under which of the following conditions?

One source of error is refraction, the bending of light beams as they pass through air layers of different temperature and pressure. Because light traveling. down from a summit passes through many such layers, a surveyor could sight a mirage rather than the peak itself. To reduce refraction errors, the Chinese team carried in sea level to within five to twelve miles of Everest’s summit, decreasing the amount of air that light passed through on its way to their theodolites. The Chinese also launched weather balloons near their theodolites to measure atmospheric temperature and pressure changes to better estimate refraction errors.

A. When there are local variations in sea level -- Incorrect
B. When light passes through humid air -- Irrelevant -- the cause of refraction is passage of light through air layers of different temperature and pressure
C. When theodolites are used relatively far from the mountain peak. -- greater distance itself won't cause refraction, but with increasing distance the probability of light passing through air layers of different temperature and pressure
D. When weather balloons indicate low air temperature and pressure. -- here we have to assume that a few layers of air through which the light passes will have air temperature and pressure that is not low -- maybe normal or high ?
E. When sea level has been carried in to Within five to twelve miles of the summit. -- This was a way to reduce refraction errors that was adopted by Chinese

AjiteshArun , mikemcgarry ,daagh ,egmat , GMATNinja , sayantanc2k , RonPurewal ,ChiranjeevSingh other experts -- can you please help with Q32 ?

Hi Skywalker18! I'll jump in for Mike here

In my opinion, this is not a very well written question, and not up to GMAT standards. As you and others have pointed out, both C and D have elements that could be considered correct. I think your analysis is correct here - for choice C, with increasing distance, there is a higher probability that light will have to pass through regions of different temperature and pressure, causing refraction. This is supported by the part of the passage that states "To reduce refraction errors, the Chinese team carried in sea level to within five to twelve miles of Everest’s summit, decreasing the amount of air that light passed through on its way to their theodolites."

For choice D, we can assume that if there is low temperature and pressure closer to the summit, there are likely different layers of temperature and pressure that the light has to travel through, which also will cause refraction errors.

So both answer choices have some merit here; again, I don't think this is a very well-written question. I wouldn't say that either C or D is substantially more supported by the passage.

-Carolyn
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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23 May 2011, 16:57
I got CBCA. What's the OA??
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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11 Jul 2011, 21:05
I got C B A A in 6 mins, whats is are the OAs??
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2011, 02:54
I also got CBCA.

For the first question, Since its an inference question, the passage must contain proof sentences for the inference.

To reduce refraction errors, the Chinese team carried in sea level to
within five to twelve miles of Everest’s summit, decreasing the amount of air
that light passed through on its way to their theodolites

The above effectively means that the refraction error is closely related to distance of theodolite from the peak.==> C

D cannot be the answer, definition of refraction mentions bending of light due to difference in pressure and temperature and not absolute low pressure and low temperature.

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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2011, 04:51
MBAhereIcome wrote:
i think the OA is ... DBCA

CBCA for me too
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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17 Apr 2012, 09:08
my answers are D,B,C and E but I kept searching and could not find the OA. Any one has it? Thnks
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2012, 00:51
Where's the OA for this?

I got BBCA and I need explanation

RC's my weak point
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2012, 08:07
I got CBCA too .I think that might be the OA .
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2012, 09:13
I got CBCA.Pls share OA.
How much should be the optimum time to solve this passage?
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2012, 09:55
I also got CBCA, but RC is definitely my weakness. Hopefully somebody has the OA
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2012, 08:38
This RC is from Set 26 Verbal.
Official Answer there : is D,B,C,A.
I marked : C,D,C,A

I disagree with Official Answer for 32 and I am not clear about 33.

32
==
Quoting Line 33-38 from the passage
To reduce refraction errors, the
Chinese team carried in sea level to
(35) within five to twelve miles of Everest’s
summit, decreasing the amount of air
that light passed through on its way to
their theodolites
This indicates that greater the distance of the point of measurement from Everest more is the refraction error. Option C satisfies this.
Let us try to see other options
A. When there are local variations in sea level
-> This is cited as a diff problem from refraction. Line 50-52 indicate this.
B. When light passes through humid air
-> Doesn't have a bearing on refraction as presence of humid air, without it resulting in several layers of diff temp and pressure zones, cannot result in refraction.
D. When weather balloons indicate low air temperature and pressure.
-> Variance in pressure and temp betweern the measured object and point of measurement is the reason for refraction. Low pressure and temp as long as it is constant won't make a difference.
E. When sea level has been carried in to Within five to twelve miles of the summit.
-> This resulted in a decrease in refraction.

33
===
I am not sure why Official Answer for 33 is
B. Signal a transition in focus

IMO transition in focus would have been applicable if
(1) We were introducing one of the subjects, Chinese or British, in Lines 23-25.
(2) We were discussing about one subject and moving on to the next subject from Line 25 onwards.

"(1)" is not true as there is mention of British and Chinese already in the passage. Line 1 for Chinese and Line 4 for British.
"(2)" is not true as we continue to discuss Chinese approach before and after these lines.

IMO "The Chinese" and "The British" indicate the approach followed and option (D) ." Draw a contrast between two different theories." comes closest to being the right answer.
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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22 Dec 2012, 20:09
gmatfighter12 wrote:
my answers are D,B,C and E but I kept searching and could not find the OA. Any one has it? Thnks

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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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25 Dec 2012, 12:48
abi1085 wrote:
This RC is from Set 26 Verbal.
Official Answer there : is D,B,C,A.
I marked : C,D,C,A

I disagree with Official Answer for 32 and I am not clear about 33.

32
==
Quoting Line 33-38 from the passage
To reduce refraction errors, the
Chinese team carried in sea level to
(35) within five to twelve miles of Everest’s
summit, decreasing the amount of air
that light passed through on its way to
their theodolites
This indicates that greater the distance of the point of measurement from Everest more is the refraction error. Option C satisfies this.
Let us try to see other options
A. When there are local variations in sea level
-> This is cited as a diff problem from refraction. Line 50-52 indicate this.
B. When light passes through humid air
-> Doesn't have a bearing on refraction as presence of humid air, without it resulting in several layers of diff temp and pressure zones, cannot result in refraction.
D. When weather balloons indicate low air temperature and pressure.
-> Variance in pressure and temp betweern the measured object and point of measurement is the reason for refraction. Low pressure and temp as long as it is constant won't make a difference.
E. When sea level has been carried in to Within five to twelve miles of the summit.
-> This resulted in a decrease in refraction.

33
===
I am not sure why Official Answer for 33 is
B. Signal a transition in focus

IMO transition in focus would have been applicable if
(1) We were introducing one of the subjects, Chinese or British, in Lines 23-25.
(2) We were discussing about one subject and moving on to the next subject from Line 25 onwards.

"(1)" is not true as there is mention of British and Chinese already in the passage. Line 1 for Chinese and Line 4 for British.
"(2)" is not true as we continue to discuss Chinese approach before and after these lines.

IMO "The Chinese" and "The British" indicate the approach followed and option (D) ." Draw a contrast between two different theories." comes closest to being the right answer.

You made a typographical error mentioned D as the OA for 33 whereas your explanation says C.

Then the OA is

CBCA.
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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16 Oct 2013, 12:29
eaakbari wrote:
abi1085 wrote:
This RC is from Set 26 Verbal.
Official Answer there : is D,B,C,A.
I marked : C,D,C,A

I disagree with Official Answer for 32 and I am not clear about 33.

32
==
Quoting Line 33-38 from the passage
To reduce refraction errors, the
Chinese team carried in sea level to
(35) within five to twelve miles of Everest’s
summit, decreasing the amount of air
that light passed through on its way to
their theodolites
This indicates that greater the distance of the point of measurement from Everest more is the refraction error. Option C satisfies this.
Let us try to see other options
A. When there are local variations in sea level
-> This is cited as a diff problem from refraction. Line 50-52 indicate this.
B. When light passes through humid air
-> Doesn't have a bearing on refraction as presence of humid air, without it resulting in several layers of diff temp and pressure zones, cannot result in refraction.
D. When weather balloons indicate low air temperature and pressure.
-> Variance in pressure and temp betweern the measured object and point of measurement is the reason for refraction. Low pressure and temp as long as it is constant won't make a difference.
E. When sea level has been carried in to Within five to twelve miles of the summit.
-> This resulted in a decrease in refraction.

33
===
I am not sure why Official Answer for 33 is
B. Signal a transition in focus

IMO transition in focus would have been applicable if
(1) We were introducing one of the subjects, Chinese or British, in Lines 23-25.
(2) We were discussing about one subject and moving on to the next subject from Line 25 onwards.

"(1)" is not true as there is mention of British and Chinese already in the passage. Line 1 for Chinese and Line 4 for British.
"(2)" is not true as we continue to discuss Chinese approach before and after these lines.

IMO "The Chinese" and "The British" indicate the approach followed and option (D) ." Draw a contrast between two different theories." comes closest to being the right answer.

You made a typographical error mentioned D as the OA for 33 whereas your explanation says C.

Then the OA is

CBCA.

Would someone please confirm the OA is CBCA for this one? I think particullarly re the first question?
Thanks
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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17 Oct 2013, 10:57
The answer to the first problem MUST be C, because errors due to refraction, pressure etc. are only introduced when using a theodolite, and C is the only answer choice that mentions one.
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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29 Dec 2015, 22:16
32.It can be inferred from the passage that refraction would be most likely to cause errors in measurements of a mountain’s elevation under which of the following conditions?
D. When weather balloons indicate low air temperature and pressure.
" The Chinese also launched weather balloons near their theodolites to measure atmospheric temperature and pressure changes to better estimate refraction errors."
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Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest  [#permalink]

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09 May 2016, 08:06
I know it's useless to disagree with Official answers and all that, but please allow me,

Q32.

The official answer is D, but it says "When weather balloons indicate low air temperature and pressure." so, same level of temp and pressure.

according to the text,

"One source of error is refraction, the bending of light beams as they pass through air layers of different temperature and pressure. " so the refraction is the result of passing through DIFFERENT T and P, Therefore D just can't be correct here. ~

Am I missing something?
Re: In 1975 Chinese survey teams remeasured Mount Everest   [#permalink] 09 May 2016, 08:06

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