Place of the pre-Columbian Inca
Ruins of the sacred city of Caral-Supe, Peru. The oldest centre of civilization
in the Americas (5000-year-old) has six large pyramidal structures.
Yauca and Acari River Canyons, Peru May
1996.The dry, canyonlike terrain of the Peruvian
coast is visible in this northeast-looking, low-oblique photograph. Clouds cover
the western Andes Mountains, the longest mountain system in the world, which
began to form 600 million years ago. Uplifted coastal plains deeply grooved the
coastal areas, sculpturing deep canyons, some of which extend to the coast. A
slow uplift continues to build the Andes, which are rising approximately 10 cm each century. Visible are many small canyons and two
major ones—the Acari River Canyon (center of photograph) and the Yauca River
Canyon to its south. Some irrigation is discernible in both river valleys and
near the coast where the rivers empty into the Pacific Ocean. Point Chala
appears at the bottom right of the photograph.
Lake Titicaca and coast of Peru (left). Titicaca, the largest freshwater lake in
South America, is located in a depression in the Altiplano (high plains) between
the eastern and the western range of the Andes Mountains. Lake Titicaca covers
an area of 8300 km², is nearly 190 km long, and has an average width of 72 km.
Fed by many mountain streams that border the Altiplano, the lake is drained only
by the Desaguadero River, which flows south into Lake Poopó. Water levels can
vary as much as 16 feet (5m) from season to season and year to year. Much of the
lake water is lost through evaporation caused by intense sunshine and strong
winds. Since the late 1980s, drought has plagued this region of the Altiplano,
causing water levels in the lake to drop below normal. Drastic drops in water
level in the lake could eventually affect the moderating climate of this
high-altitude lake 3800 meters above sea level, which could lead to reduced
agricultural crop yields. The agricultural crops of wheat and maize help sustain
many Indians that live along Lake Titicaca’s shores (by NASA).
Peruvian mother and child at a small village in Lake Titicaca.
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