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Earthquake Damage Detected in Machu Picchu

Monday, December 17, 2018

Machu Picchu earthquakeCUSCO, PERU—According to a report in The Peruvian Times, an earthquake estimated to have occurred around A.D. 1450 left lasting signs of damage on Machu Picchu’s Temple of the Sun and other buildings under construction during the reign of the Ninth Inca Pachacutec. “We see openings between rocks and stones, which is not typical of the Incas because they employed an impeccable, perfect construction,” said Carlos Benavente of the Cusco-Pata Research Project. “Some edges of the rocks are broken, which means that in the undulation of the earth, they hit each other, which caused the breaks.” Benavente then said that the architects changed tactics after the earthquake, and began building in trapezoidal shapes with giant stone blocks at the base of walls that narrowed at the top. He thinks the Incas stayed in the earthquake zone despite the dangers because the fissures in the earth also carried water. “They preferred to improve the structural conditions of their homes rather than move away from the water resource,” he explained. To read in-depth about Inca hydraulic engineering, go to “The Water Temple of Inca-Caranqui.”

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