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Archaeology & History

Machu Picchu was purposely built on fault lines

By T.K. Randall
October 1, 2019 · Comment icon 2 comments

Why was Machu Picchu built high up in the mountains ? Image Credit: Allard Schmidt
New research has suggested that Machu Picchu's location on intersecting fault lines is no coincidence.
Built high up in the Andes Mountains by the Incan civilization over 500 years ago, Machu Picchu remains one of the most fascinating and popular visitor attractions in all of Peru.

While there is much that archaeologists have yet to understand about this remarkable place, one recent study has helped to shed light on the reasons its builders chose such a remote location.

The answer, it turns out, is all to do with geology and in particular, Machu Picchu's location on intersecting fault lines which would have provided a multitude of benefits.

One such advantage would have been the availability of granite that had already been broken up into pieces, making the site ideal for building such an elaborate stone city.
The structures themselves were also aligned in the same direction as the faults.

"Machu Picchu's location is not a coincidence," said Rualdo Menegat from Brazil's Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. "The intense fracturing there predisposed the rocks to breaking along these same planes of weakness, which greatly reduced the energy needed to carve them. It would be impossible to build such a site in the high mountains if the substrate was not fractured."

In addition to this, the fault lines would have likely helped to direct drinking water in the form of melting snow near to the city, as well as to prevent flooding by enabling excess water to drain away.

All things considered, it seems as though Machu Picchu was in fact perfectly placed.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (2)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Gwynbleidd 5 years ago
I would love to visit this place.  Since I can't rough it anymore, this is out of the question, but this has been my dream holiday all of my life......literally.   
Comment icon #2 Posted by Still Waters 5 years ago
Some friends of ours booked a holiday to Machu Picchu, but then one of them broke his foot so they had to cancel.Talk about bad timing!

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