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Flat Earth : Mt. Taranaki

Mt. Taranaki

Here's one of my favourite flat earth videos, about Mt Taranaki, a very distinct volcano in New Zealand, with a height of 2518m above sea level. The video in question can be found here, and here's the introduction by a certain flat earth "believer" on ablf3 about a year ago:

There is a great video going around about Mt. Taranaki, the one that was mentioned above.

He uses photos from different places, but note especially the last one, and where it was taken from. Not from a hill, but from sea level. The whole mountain should be under the horizon. We can't see through solid objects, we know this.

Yep, we know this indeed, so why on earth can we still see that blinken mountain? Could it be true that the earth is flat after all?

I'll concentrate on the second photo he shows, as the first one contains too many unknowns and "I think's".

The second photo can be found on this page : Two Go Tiki Touring: The Kiwi’s Beak- Farewell Spit : Part 1

The lady taking the photo was on a tour of Cape Farewell, which she explains on that same webpage. As you can see from the other photos, the tour bus brings the tourists to the top of the cliff. Going to Google Earth shows the elevation at the top of that cliff ranging from 19 to 60m, in very close proximity to where the bus stops. A tourist wanting to take a picture of far away Mt Taranaki would logically go and stand on the highest spot close by (which is only a few meters away from where the bus stops).

Using the Earth Curvature Calculator1 with these figures (elevation : 60m, distance : 182km) gives us a hidden height of 1869m, which would leave 649m of the peak visible.

Now go to Google Earth and find the height of the little side peak on the photo, which is called Fantham's Peak and has an altitude of 1953m, which is 565m below the main peak.

So, we should still see another 84m (649m - 565m) below Fantham's Peak, which is about what we see on that photo, more or less. The numbers and calculations all agree with what we see.

The error of the person who made this video is to assume the photo was taken from 3m elevation. But, assumption is the mother of all error!

Now some bright bulb commented that what we see below Fantham's peak looks more like two thirds of the 565m between the two peaks, which would be substantially more than the 84m we should see according to the earth curvature calculations I gave. Here is my reply :

First the details :

Look at the attached picture (see below), which shows the levels we're talking about with a red line. It looks like Fantham's peak is ABOUT halfway between the peak of Mt Taranaki and the horizon. Since I did not know where the photo was taken from I took an educated guess. But there's other educated guesses close by. For example, if you go to "Cape Farewell from Pillar Point" (which is also a tourist hot spot) you will get an elevation of 153m. So, add 2 meter for the height of the person taking the picture, use the Earth Curvature Calculator2 and you will find that 1484m of the mountain is hidden, which leaves 1034m visible. This gives us 565m between Mt Taranaki's peak and Fantham's peak, and another 469m between Fantham's peak and the horizon. I think that's pretty close to what we see in the picture, ALMOST halfway (if you measure with a ruler you will see that the bottom distance in the photo is actually less indeed than the top distance). So we get a perfect match !

Mt Taranaki

Then the elephant in the room :

The main point is that since we do not know where the picture was taken from we can argue about a few meters give or take, but the elephant in the room is this : if the earth were flat we should be able to see the foot of the mountain, which we clearly do not see. There is about 1.5 KILOMETER of elevation hidden from view. That's pretty hard to ignore on a flat earth model, but very easy to explain with a round earth ! If we were to try and mark the base of the mountain on the above image, we would have to mark it well BELOW the photo, it would completely fall off the photo. That's quite something imho !

What would it look like if we were to mark the true base of the mountain on this photo? Well, I took a photo that was taken from Tongaporutu on the other side of the mountain, i.e. taken from a much shorter distance (but which still has some part of the mountain hidden because of a curvature drop!). Then I flipped the Tongaporutu photo side to side to match the first one, I scaled both photos and put them side by side. This is what it looks like:

Mt Taranaki from Tongapurutu

Can you see that bottom yellow line? That's how far this mountain appears to have sunk into the sea. It is beyond me how a flat earther can explain this away. No doubt some will try.

Sorry folks, no flat earth in New Zealand either.

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