Talk:Huascarán

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Contradiction with other sources on Wikipedia[edit]

I see that this article says that Huascaran is not of volcanic origin. Other sources (eg the source on the Santa River and the article which I started on Ranrahirca say that it is an extinct volcano. Can someone find a source that clears up this contradiction. Gerryfarm 08:43, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

The source is already included on this page; it clearly states that the peak (and the entire range) is non-volcanic. The idea that Huascarán is a volcano is, as far as I can tell, pure legend, possibly due to a confusion between the massive earthquake-induced landslides that have occured on the peak and volcanic eruptions. When I edited this article to remove the false claim that it is a volcano, I looked around the internet quite a bit, and indeed one does see mention of it as an extinct volcano. However none of these internet pages had a source or any justification of the claim. Also, Huascarán does not show up on any reputable volcano site. So I see no reason to doubt my printed source, the one currently referenced.
I'll go ahead and change the other two articles that you mention. Let me know if there are any more places on Wikipedia with this false claim. -- Spireguy 02:46, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Farthest from Earth's center[edit]

Could we get a source on the claim that Huascarán is in a tie with Chimborazo? That isn't in accord with what I have seen. Also, it shouldn't really have to do with determining the geoid. For example, a GPS reading can in principle tell you the distance from the center directly. More practically, a GPS reading measures height relative to a standard reference ellipsoid, and adding in the ellipsoid radius at that location should give the distance from the center. Now, the given heights were not determined by GPS (although they may have since been verified by it?) but they also were not referenced to any complex model of the geoid---the figures are too old for that. They probably also use a spheroidal datum (to the extent that they are accurate at all, which can be an issue for South American peaks). So the claim about the geoid seems spurious and makes the whole claim dubious to me. -- Spireguy 03:05, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

The parameters and formulae are at Earth_radius. I knocked up a basic program:

pi=3.1415926 lat1=9.121389 lat2=1.469167 lat=lat2

p=lat*pi/180 a=6378.135 b=6356.750

t1=a*a*cos(p) r1=t1*t1 t2=b*b*sin(p) r2=t2*t2 t3=a*cos(p) r3=t3*t3 t4=b*sin(p) r4=t4*t4 r5=(r1+r2)/(r3+r4) r=sqr(r5) print r

From this I get a radial difference of 520m between the two latitudes; Chimbo's latitude is further away. According to Wikipedia, the elevations are 6768m and 6267m. But see also the geoid factor, [1]. When extrapolated to sea level, Huascaran's location appears to be c.20m further from the earth's centre than the ellipsoid calculation indicates, in which case it is, indeed, very close.

Elevations of 6746m and 6310m are often given. If either are correct then Chimbo is the winner. I don't believe the latter, but I am not at all sure about the former.

Viewfinder 07:13, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks to Viewfinder for the numbers. I should clarify what I said earlier about the geoid. It depends on what the reference vertical data for the given elevations are. If the elevations are relative to any standard ellipsoid model, then the geoid is irrelevant. However, if they are relative to mean sea level, then the geoid is relevant, as long as one is using those figures and not, say, a modern GPS reading. Also note that if the two peaks' elevation figures use different ellipsoids, then that throws another wrench into things. Viewfinder, do you know what the vertical data for these given peak heights are likely to be?

Viewfinder correctly points out that even the given figures are pretty widely variable, so even without the issue of the geoid, the uncertainty in these figures make it hard to come to a definite conclusion.

Of course, to put it into perspective, we are talking about a percentage difference of at most 100m/6300km = 0.0016%, so maybe we should call it a tie after all. -- Spireguy 20:14, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I have no reason not to believe the heights are relative to anything other than sea level. The 6267m for Chimborazo was from a 1993 DGPS survey by Mike Jenkins and is more SRTM compatible than 6310m. Official PIGM 100k mapping has 6746m for Huascaran; I think 6768m is from a more detailed and probably more accurate DAV (German alpine) map. Of course it would be good to get accurate ellipsoidal GPS readings. Any volunteers? Viewfinder 21:00, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

This is original research. Many references support the claim that Chimborazo is the farthest point of the center. Until at least one reliable source states otherwise, wikipedia shouldn't either. I have removed the claim from the article. Rracecarr 16:32, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

I am puttimg it back. Most of these sources make the claim on the basis that Chimborazo is 6310m, which is too high. Viewfinder 22:15, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Again: THAT IS ORIGINAL RESEARCH. Find a source that says Huascaran is the furthest, or that there's a tie, or else stop putting in assertions based on your calculations. Rracecarr 23:42, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Here are a few of the dozens of sources claiming Chimborazo is the furthest point from the center of the earth. I can't find one that says the same about Huascaran. These aren't the most reliable, they're just a few from the first page of results for the google search for Everest furthest OR farthest Chimborazo OR Huascaran:
[2]

[3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] Rracecarr 14:44, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Rracecarr is correct, Viewfinder's work is original research per the Wikipedia definition, despite it being meticulously done (as always). (I am only slowly getting really careful about OR myself, as is obvious from the above; it's easy to get caught up in trying to discover the truth, as opposed to what is sourced.) One would think that there would be a Peruvian source (perhaps a wee bit nationally biased) making the claim for Huascaran, but I don't recall one offhand. Who was the person who originally put in the claim, anyway? -- Spireguy 02:52, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

It was not I; here is the claim. I subsequently checked the calculation at Spireguy's request. Sorry Spireguy, but the words "we should call it a tie" were not mine either. Wikipedia supports 6768m for Huascaran; this seems reasonable, given that it is supported by Austrian Alpine Club mapping that is more detailed and accurate than official Peruvian mapping, although it is possible that 6746m (which would end the debate) is based on a more recent survey. Given this elevation, the above calculation shows that Huascaran is in the running. The calculation is verifiable in that it can be verified by anyone who has studied mathematics to an advanced level; it should therefore be regarded as verifiable fact, not original research. The Chimborazo claim is probably correct, but it has never been proved beyond all doubt. "Reliable sources" frequently make or repeat incorrect claims in the field of topography. Viewfinder 05:54, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

I certainly didn't mean to imply that I was blameless in this matter; yes, as is clear from the talk page above, I was the one who first asked whether the claim was reasonable, and Viewfinder kindly did the calculations. So please emend the above to "our work is OR".
However the point being discussed is not who did what, but whether the calculation is OR by the Wikipedia definition. If you look at WP:NOR, you will see that this definition is very limiting in terms of what one can put into WP. As I have said, only recently have I started to take really seriously how restrictive this definition is; but it is important to stick to the rules for WP. Almost any calculation of any kind counts as OR, in the sense of synthesizing information in a novel way, not already presented in that form in a reliable source. It doesn't matter how airtight the mathematics is.
I agree that "reliable sources" (per the WP definition) often make errors, and I think that judgement can be applied to determine whether their statements are credible; Viewfinder has done good work in pointing out how some sources should be treated with skepticism, and I don't think that that work is OR. But including a positive claim in an article, based on a calculation done by a Wikipedian that brings together various pieces of information, is unfortunately OR, due to the particular definition used on WP.
With much respect, as always -- Spireguy 12:42, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Assuming it is OK to present verifiable information, and a link to the formula that links the information, surely it is then helpful, and not against the spirit if Wikipedia, to apply that formula in a verifiable manner? Are not the OR rules aimed at editors' value judgements, which are not an issue here? Anyway, for now, I amended the "Chimborazo.. is" to "Chimborazo.. is generally regarded as", which is more true and which I hope will be accepted. Meanwhile I will try to find out more about the 6746m vs 6768m elevation (which may settle the matter in Chimbo's favour) or the current thoughts of the so-called "experts" who could provide acceptable sources. Viewfinder 14:14, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

I think the change to the Chimborazo article is fine. Rracecarr 14:44, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Re what constitutes OR, see WP:NOR#Synthesis of published material serving to advance a position, which gives an example of a very minor, logically unobjectionable synthesis that nonetheless constitutes OR. This shows how strict the policy is supposed to be---much stricter than I would have imagined before thoroughly reading WP:NOR. The types of calculations we were doing above are another example of such a synthesis. -- Spireguy 22:40, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

There is no longer a content dispute, and the discussion has moved on to a more general issue and is therefore best not continued here. However, it is an important discussion, so I have moved it to User:Viewfinder/OR. Feel free to contribute to it. Viewfinder 06:59, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

The following was originally inserted above; I've moved it into chronological order and I'll respond after it shortly. -- Spireguy 02:39, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
Here's a source [12] for the Huascarán claim; the authors appear to have made the ascent repeatedly themselves, and if they bring a GPS receiver on their next trek, they could eliminate the mean-sea-level geoid complication with a direct geometric measurement. (I am the originator of the Huascarán claim, which I arrived at by the same calculation and input data that Viewfinder kindly replicated above. Reading the prior Wikipedia article on Chimborazo, I had encountered the bald "reliably sourced" claim, which annoyed me just enough to warrant a quick check, and proved, like many such claims, to be easily open to factual challenge. Having established the truth -- close tie -- to my own satisfaction, I recorded it here and stepped aside. I do not consider myself a Wikipedia maintainer, and have no affirmative interest in seeing this article improved; however, as a spectator I find the epistemological issues fascinating. In honesty, I must admit that I strongly suspect the trekking outfit I cited is directly or indirectly paraphrasing my own Wikipedia edit; I will be watching with amusement as more authoritative "sources" inevitably pick it up. Since the actual claim is true, and many people can calculate just as I and Viewfinder did, I expect that its spread is now inevitable. When, however, does it become "reliable"? That, of course, is purely a Wikipedia problem, and hence not my problem. Do carry on.) 64.81.149.135 00:53, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The "source" cited above is clearly copied (not just paraphrased) from an earlier version of Huascarán. This is an illustrative example of what is not supposed to happen with Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not supposed to be an originator of knowledge; it is a tertiary source, and is not itself a reliable primary or secondary source. One should not be able to trace the ultimate provenance of a claim to Wikipedia; that definitely makes it original research. Inserting a claim based on a private calculation is completely out of line with WP policy, for good reason: the claim could be pure fiction or quackery. Firm belief in the truth of the claim by one or even several editors is not enough. As we have recently seen, even a public calculation on the talk page, while certainly more plausible, is not enough.

As to whether this claim, if propagated originally out of Wikipedia, could become "reliable", the answer is simple. If it got checked independently and openly, for example by a calculation published in a peer-reviewed journal, then that would provide a reliable source for the claim. It wouldn't then matter if the inspiration for the claim came from WP, if it was put forth as any other reliable claim would be. I do hope that this claim does not propagate in a way that makes it seem reliable and independently checked, and then gets re-inserted into WP on that basis. Even though I personally believe the claim, if that happens, I'll delete it.

As I mentioned above, I am certainly not blameless in this matter, but as someone who does take contributing to WP seriously, I find the flippant attitude expressed by the "amused" anonymous editor somewhat exasperating. I would suggest that if the anon editor continues to maintain a distinction between "a Wikipedia problem" and "my problem", he/she should not contribute to WP again. -- Spireguy 03:21, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

If the primary source is Wikipedia itself, then it is not sufficient. If an attempt has been made to disguise a Wikipedia source as an external source, then that is certainly not in order. Viewfinder 10:39, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
Gee, now you've hurt my feelings. I think I've adhered to a fair standard of basic honesty and courtesy here, and have not breached the OR policy nor questioned it since the moment it was explained to me above. If I believed in the policy, I might argue vigorously in support of Viewfinder's brief that mere arithmetic (including the kind that requires both fingers and toes) can't possibly be OR. Instead, I've left it to you experts.
It seems to me that the idea that only contributions by WP "believers" can be useful to WP is analogous to the idea that only baptized Parisians can direct tourists to Notre Dame. So long as we atheists behave decently, share what little we know, and don't knowingly subvert your curious code, surely we can get along? 64.81.149.135 07:49, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your response; I'll respond to your comments on your talk page, as this has again moved away from issues directly relevant to this article. -- Spireguy 16:07, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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