2,119 is one of the first numbers school children in Iceland memorize. For decades it has been the assumed height of Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalshnjúkur. Yesterday, the prime minister of Iceland, Halldór Ásgrímsson, announced that the mountain, due to the use of high tech measuring devices, had lost 9 meters, the new official height is now 2,110 meters. While announcing the much anticipated new height, Halldór jokingly told people not to worry with enough snow this winter the mountain could regain a few meters.
The evening news program on television station Stod 2, reported that Icelanders can no longer boast to having a higher mountain than Sweden’s highest peak, peak Kebnekaise (2,114 m). Hvannadalshnjukur moves down a notch to become the Nordic countries third highest mountain. School books will need to be updated and the new number drilled into the memory of Icelanders.
The National Land Survey of Iceland, Landmælingar Íslands, measured the mountain from July 27 – 29 in collaboration with University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences and the Icelandic Coast Guard.