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  • Archaeoseismology – Earthquake damage in Machu Picchu

    A recent study presented at the GSA meeting concludes that the UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu in Peru was intentionally built on faulted bedrock in order to ease the quarrying of the huge blocks used as construction material (Menegat, 2019). But has Machu Picchu seen big earthquakes in its lifetime? And if so, can it tell us something about their magnitude? After all, there are plenty of earthquakes in Peru, not only at the subduction zone but also in the Andes (e.g., Wimpenny et al., 2018). Some strong instrumental events occurred less than 100 km away from the Inca site. However, in the area of Machu Picchu we knew little about strong earthquakes. That’s why in 2016 a group of researchers from Peru, France, and the UK including myself started to investigate the active faults around Cusco and archaeoseismological damage to Machu Picchu and other famous Inca sites nearby in the CUSCO-PATA project.

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