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How the Incas designed Machu Picchu to accommodate the volatile environment

Saturday, July 24th 2021, 6:06 am - On this day in weather history, Hiram Bingham found the ruins of Machu Picchu.

Listen to The Weather Network's This Day in Weather History podcast on this topic, here.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features stories about people, communities, and events and how weather impacted them.


Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located on a mountain range in Peru.

Within the archeologist community, many believe that Machu Picchu was built for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. The Incas constructed Machu Picchu around 1450 but then fled around 100 years later during the Spanish conquest.

Temple of the Sun or Torreon Temple of the Sun or Torreon. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Machu Picchu was known locally, but on Monday, July 24, 1911, American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention.

The estate was constructive classical Inca style, including polished dry-stone walls. Machu Picchu has three unique structures, the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana, and the Room of the Three Windows.

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The Incas were faced with severe weather events when they were constructing Machu Picchu. One of the main issues is that the location is volatile to seismic activity. So the locals needed to find sturdy materials like stones.

1920px-MachuPicchu TerracedFields (

The area was also subjected to heavy rainfall, so the structure required terraces to drain water and prevent mudslides and flooding. The terraces also had sand, dirt, and other material to absorb access water. A similar strategy was used to protect the city centre from flooding.

Considering the site is popular among tourists, many of the outer structures have been reconstructed. As of 1976, about 30 per cent of the estate had been restored.

To learn more about the discovery of Machu Picchu, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Pixabay

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