Incas knew the bitter taste of air pollution! #MachuPicchu #pollution #ice #air

The ancient city of Incas in Machu Picchu is one of the New7Wonders of the World. This city is surrounded by clouds as it is located on the top of Peruvian mountain Machu Picchu (“old mountain”) almost 2430 meters above the sea level. After Spain conquering Incan Empire in the 15th century this site was abandoned most probably due to smallpox epidemic outbreak. Yet to be rediscovered in 1909 by Hiram Bingham an American historian from Yale University.

Global warming causes dramatic changes in the endogenous nature. For example, raising of the temperature is resulting in glacier ice melting even on the highest world peaks. Such rapid meltdown is one of the real evidences of air quality impact on natural resources. Taking advantage of the situation it gives possibility to study thousands years old content well preserved in ice. In article recently published by the researchers from Ohio State University one can find a detailed study of ice core found in the Quelccaya (Andes, Peru).

A distinct glacier ice division shows that during Inca Empire times the dominating portion of the pollution particles were only dust and occasional volcanic ashes. However in time around 1540, the air pollution worsen most probably due to Spanish colonial mining and metallurgy that was practices in Peru and Bolivia. Amount of toxic elements that were polluting the air increased after 1572, when technique of extracting silver become more efficient but also much more health and nature damaging. Nevertheless, the worst impact on the air quality had the 20th century industrial boom. And the damaging process is not over yet…