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.
El Niños, the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern, could be devastating for ancient Andean societies. Direct evidence of these events is scarce, but clever archaeological sleuthing has revealed details of event recurrence – and desperate measures taken by authorities to stop destructive flooding.
El Niño and La Niña weather patterns profoundly affect human societies – today, as well as during the past few thousands of years, especially in the strongly affected Peruvian Andes. Both are part of the climate pattern named the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).