January 07, 2010
The photo above shows a close in view of the amazing ruins of Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The Inca people built huge structures and laid out terraced fields between two natural granitic pinnacles in the middle of the 15th century. Machu Picchu, the “old peak,” and Huayna Picchu, the “young peak," in the Quechua language, frame this mystical establishment. The “young peak” is shown in the background. Machu Picchu is thought to have been deserted just 100 years after it was completed -- likely due to a water shortage or lack of maintenance. After the Inca left Machu Picchu elements of the site continued in use by the local inhabitants until it was revealed to the rest of the world by Hiram Bingham in 1911. However, it seems that these ruins may have been "rediscovered" and perhaps plundered in 1867 by Augusto Berns. Machu Picchu is a popular place, in 2008 it was "rediscovered" over 850,000 times by tourists from all around the world. Photo taken in September 2009. For a wider view of Machu Picchu see the Earth Science Picture of the Day for November 20, 2008.
Machu Picchu coordinates: -13.163056, -72.545556
- Machu Picchu before Bingham by Paolo Greer (pdf)