Seismic activity in the 15th century prompted a shift in construction techniques which can be observed in the famous ancient citadel Machu Picchu.
According to a report by Andina, the Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute (Ingemmet) of Peru revealed that an earthquake of at least 6.5-magnitude, registered around 1450, caused the deformation of the walls of Machu Picchu and motivated the Incas to start using a seismic-resistant architecture.
The earthquake coincides with the reign of Pachacutec, believed to have ordered the construction of Machu Picchu. Deformations, and inclinations of the walls in one direction, caused by the earthquake can bee seen in the Temple of the Sun, and throughout the ceremonial centers found in the citadel.
Openings between the boulders can be observed, a striking difference from the seamless joining of boulders the Inca are known for. Scientists believe that Pachacutec (or Pachacuti) Inca Yupanqui arranged for the repair of these damages through modern architectural techniques. Much more research needs to be done to confirm these hypotheses.
The research project aims to “identify telluric movements that occurred in the past and how they affected ancient cultures, such as the Inca and the Wari,” states Andina. In an effort to understand which fault line caused the seismic activity of the time, the project focuses on two of six main geological faults in the Cusco fault system: Tambomachay and Pachatusan.
Cover photo: Dan Merino/Flickr
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