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Mount McKinley measure comes up short

JUNEAU, Alaska — North America’s tallest peak, Alaska’s Mount McKinley, may have been taken down a notch.

An effort to update decades-old maps using airplane-mounted radar technology showed the mountain, called Denali by locals, stands at 20,237 feet. That’s 83 feet shorter than an estimate of 20,320 feet from the early 1950s.

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McKinley would still be more than 680 feet taller than the continent’s second-highest peak, Canada’s Mount Logan.

The discovery was made in 2011, after data from a 2010 flight was processed, but details weren’t widely released until this week by Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, who serves on the Alaska Mapping Executive Committee.

Kari Craun of the US Geological Survey said the technology used in the mapping is advanced but its focus is on surveying an area, not a specific point. She said more study would need to be done, but the agency did not have plans to conduct another survey or officially change the height.

The radar technology can penetrate ice and snow, an official said.

Sensors are mounted on the belly and at the wing tips of a sleek-looking aircraft that flies at about 40,000 feet and ‘‘bombards the earth’’ with radar, which collects elevation data, he said.

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