Trips to Peru
The Incan “lost city” of Machu Picchu has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world since its rediscovery by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911, and was recently named one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World.” Many geological engineering students have the opportunity to explore and study this archeological wonder as part of their Geology and Engineering of Ancient and Modern Peru course. A weeklong field trip during Spring Break to Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Peru, is required as part of the course.
The course, also known as GE 207, involves the study of the geological engineering of the Cuzco-Machu Picchu corridor of Peru, including the interrelations of geology, climate, archeology and history.
Dr. Neil Anderson, professor of geological sciences and engineering, teaches the one-hour course and leads the trip. Graduate civil engineering and geological engineering students enrolled in GE/CE 401 join the trip every year under the direction of Dr. Ronaldo Luna, adjunct professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering.
“For the undergraduate students, we try to give them more of an introduction into the amazing ancient geological and geotechnical engineering of Peru,” says Dr. Anderson. “The graduate students, under the direction of Dr. Luna, look at features from a much more comprehensive perspective.
The students visit agricultural terraces that extend hundreds of feet up the sides of steep mountains, ancient quarries and the ruins of Machu Picchu. “The Inca constructed sprawling earthquake-proof temples, palaces and fortresses using hand cut form-fitting block of sculpted rock that weighed up to twenty tons,” Anderson says. “The rocks were cut and polished without the aid of metal tools and moved without the aid of pack animals.”
Photos from the 2014 trip to Peru by Geology and Engineering of Ancient and Modern Peru course students and Dr. Anderson can be seen in the slideshow.