Andes

Enchanted by Llamas

Llamas, iconic animals of the Andes Mountains, have been the trusted companions of humans for thousands of years. Llamas are superb pack animals and excel at moving on rough, rocky, and steep terrain. I’m happy to report my good fortune in recently taking an overnight camping trip with Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas on the edge of Capitol Reef National Park. It was a fabulous trip!

Did an Earthquake Trigger the Chavín Collapse?

Earthquakes have destroyed settlements and wreaked havoc on societies throughout human history. In my soon-to-be published book, "The Monumental Andes", I speculate that a major earthquake, perhaps combined with disastrous effects from El Nino weather patterns, could have contributed to the downfall of the Chavín culture that once flourished in the Cordillera Blanca region of modern northern Peru.

By |2024-01-18T07:20:34-07:00January 18th, 2024|Ancient Andean Cultures|6 Comments

Andean Silver and the Taj Mahal

The extraordinary Taj Mahal in Agra, India, is a famous symbol of love and devotion. Tremendous wealth was required to construct this monument. There is a direct connection to precious metals of the Incas and their ancestors – and particularly, to silver from the Potosí mine high in the Andes Mountains.

By |2023-11-16T11:12:27-07:00November 16th, 2023|Ancient Andean Cultures, Our Amazing Earth|6 Comments

Mummies of Mice, Mammoths, and More

The spooky season of Halloween and Day of the Dead is the inspiration for this post about mummies. Specifically, of animals: mummified mice at the summit of a towering volcano in the Andes Mountains, a baby mammoth found in muddy sediment in Siberia, and the revered animals of the ancient Egyptians. Mummies have a long and fascinating history.

By |2023-11-01T06:51:32-07:00November 1st, 2023|Fabulous Fossils & More|2 Comments

Lines on American Landscapes—Geoglyphs

Geoglyphs are large designs typically longer than about 13 feet (4 m) and produced on the ground by arranging rocks or soil. They are distinctive elements of the archaeological record along the Pacific coast of the Americas, from California to Chile. The Nazca lines of Peru are famous geoglyphs of animals and geometric shapes, constructed in the arid deserts of south-central coastal Peru between about 500 BCE and 500 CE.

“Smoking Mountain” Popocatépetl and Sinking Slabs

Popocatépetl, in southern Mexico, is North America’s 2nd-highest volcano. This volcano has been erupting for millennia—and the recent activity beginning in late May 2023 is bringing additional concern about the possibility of a significant eruption. The tectonic setting of this volcano has some interesting and unusual characteristics.

By |2023-06-09T08:05:14-07:00June 8th, 2023|Our Amazing Earth|6 Comments

Ancient Boats and Enormous Blocks

How did the ancient Andeans and Egyptians move the massive stone blocks used to build their monumental architecture? With an abundance of human muscle power but only simple hand tools, they needed to be creative. Floating blocks on boats across lakes and along river channels was a possible transport method—but did they have the water and the engineering technology for this?

By |2022-09-29T07:06:34-07:00September 29th, 2022|Ancient Andean Cultures|4 Comments

Buildings That Last

In the earthquake-prone central Andes Mountains, there archaeological sites with monumental adobe and stone block structures standing that were built by ancient people hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Clearly, the ancient builders planned to have their important structures last–-and they had the knowledge to build appropriately for their environment. Buildings that promise to last a long time are also being constructed today.

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