Natural disasters doomed early Peru's Supe civilization





WASHINGTON –- Nature turned against one of America's early civilizations 3,600 years ago, when researchers say earthquakes and floods, followed by blowing sand, drove away residents of an area that is now in Peru. "This maritime farming community had been successful for over 2,000 years, they had no incentive to change, and then all of a sudden, boom, they just got the props knocked out from under them," anthropologist Mike Moseley of the University of Florida said in a statement.

Moseley and colleagues were studying civilization of the Supe Valley along the Peruvian coast, which was established up to 5,800 years ago.

The people thrived on land adjacent to productive bays and estuaries, the researchers report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...

They found that a massive earthquake, or series of quakes, struck the seismically active region, collapsing walls and floors and launching landslides from barren mountain ranges surrounding the valley...

Then came El Nino, a periodic change in the winds and currents in the Pacific Ocean, which brought heavy rains that damaged irrigation systems and washed debris into the streams and down to the ocean...

In the end, land where the Supe had lived for centuries became uninhabitable and their society collapsed, the researchers concluded.


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