Geoforms - agricultural formations on the Bolivian Altiplano

Contrary to the opinions of some modern scientists that the Altiplano was a place unsuitable for agriculture, satellite imagery shows that practically every square foot of earth, whether on level ground or steep mountainside, has been cultivated at some time in the past. Although the impression on the ground may be of an abandoned empty desert at times, the satellite imagery shows there must have been an occupation in the millions of people - who developed many diverse forms of agriculture varying from the mountain terraces for which the Andes are famous, maze-like parcels of raised land surrounded by irregular water channels called "suka kollus", regular plots of land bounded by parallel straight canals, modified mountains with artificial radiating walls, irregular stone walled enclosures, irregular irrigated mountainside plots, artificial fish ponds with interconnecting channels, semi-aquatic cultures living on artificial islands, regular and irregular modern field patches.
Some of the old patterns have been eliminated by later cultivations but many can be still detected on the satellite imagery, which also shows up extensive earthquake damage in places where old terraces have been virtually demolished and in others where ancient iregular walled fields have been buried beneath extensive sand dunes. Satellite imagery also shows an extensive system of long narrow embankments accompanied by small circular mounds which have been baptised as "geoglyphs" but which appear to be in fact remains of an ancient agricultural system which was brought to an end by extensive earthquakes. These "geoglyph" formations are also often accompanied by hilltops surrounded by concentric walled terraces/pathways which may also have served as ringed irrigation channels, again destroyed by earthquakes thus suggesting that an ancient and unknown civilisation was destroyed in some great cataclysm (see earthquakes page) and that what people see on the ground today is mostly the works of later peoples for example those that built walls for the enclosure of animals ("corrales") over the ancient sites.

Some views from Google Earth

geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, geoglyphs north of Tiwanaku first brought to the public attention by David Flynn. These are actually remains of a little known ancient system of agriculture which covered extensive areas north, east and south-east of Tiwanaku.
see report and see report 2

geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, oblique view shows the geoglyphs to be artificial land formations used for agricultural purposes.

geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, close-up oblique view showing the "geoglyph" agricultural system with small mounds and parallel embankments. . see geoglyphs agriculture page

geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, high resolution close-up oblique view of another zone with this "fossilised" system of agriculture and hilltop struck by earthquakes.

geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, close-up oblique view.

geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, close-up oblique view shows how the geoglyph field system was supplied with water from horizontal channels fed by natural streams.

close-up geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, close-up oblique view shows stream feeding irrigation channels.

contour canal near Tiwanaku
Above, an irrigation canal winds its way along the contours.

contour canal near Tiwanaku
Above, this canal from a later period winds its way through the "geoglyphs" or disused ancient agricultural patterns on right of photo.

contour canal near Tiwanaku
Above, close-up of the canal winding its way through the "geoglyphs" or disused ancient agricultural patterns.

geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, the "geoglyph" agricultural system appears ancient and eroded here in this oblique view.

eroded geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
Above, this close-up shows damage and erosion after earthquakes in this oblique view.

ancient terraces near Tiwanaku
Above, close-up oblique view showing remains of ancient terraces with probable earthquake damage.

parallel canals near Tiwanaku
Above, in the same zone south-east of Lake Titicaca, some parallel canals for agriculture, now disused.

irregular field boundaries near Tiwanaku
Above, in the same zone south-east of Lake Titicaca, some irregular field boundaries.

field boundaries near Tiwanaku
Above, close-up of some irregular field boundaries.

field boundaries near Tiwanaku
Above, some irregular field boundaries oblique view.

geoglyphs near Tiwanaku
close-up of more "geoglyphs" or landforms in the same zone south-east of Lake Titicaca.

contour canal near Tiwanaku
Above, this irrigation channel follows the contour around the mountains.

canals near Tiwanaku
Above, still in the zone south-east of Lake Titicaca, some straight canals where the terrain is more suitable.

plot 1 furlong canals near Tiwanaku
Above, the two horizontal parallel canals are 1 x furlong or 660 feet or about 200 metres apart and they form plots of 200 x 250 metres or 400 x 500 Sumerian cubits. Dating is important to establish which unit of measurement was originally used, see below.

chequerboard canals near Tiwanaku
Above, an underlaying system of canals forms a chequerboard pattern with squares of 600 sumerian cubits or 200 metres.

canals grid near Tiwanaku
Above, the underlaying canals form blocks of 600 Sumerian cubits or 300 metres. It can be seen on this photo where older canals have been redug in modern times. The metre was adopted by the French academy of Sciences for universal use in 1793, so if these canals are more recent than 1793, or are modern, they could have been set out in metres, however if they are pre-Columbian then they are probably set out in "Sumerian" cubits of 19.8" whilst if they date from after the time of the Spanish Conquest they could still be in "Sumerian" units such as cubits and furlongs since these were also brought over by the Spanish as the old Spanish vara was in fact the "Sumerian" yard of 33.0". Each block is 600 Sumerian cubits or 360 Sumerian yards square.

canals grid 600 cubits near Tiwanaku
Above, the underlaying canals form blocks of 600 Sumerian cubits or 300 metres.

parallelcanal near Tiwanaku
Above, close-spaced parallel canals in the same are, now disused.

sukakollus near Tiwanaku
Above, an example of the "sukakollus", irregular raised fields surrounded by water channels, now disused.

sukakollus near Tiwanaku
Above, some straight channels appear to have been built over with sukakollus while some of the sukakollus are being eradicated by imposition of straight channels, hard to tell from the photo which is the later.

sukakollus north of lake Titicaca
Above, sukakollus in region just north of Lake Titicaca.

parallel canals sw of Tiwanaku
Above, some parallel canals, now disused, in the region south-west of Lake Titicaca. See Canals Peru page

contour canals Peru side
contour-like irrigation channel patterns. See Contours Peru page

irregular field boundareis sw of Tiwanaku
Above, some irregular field boundaries, in the region south-west of Lake Titicaca.

irregular field boundareis sw of Tiwanaku
Above, some irregular field boundaries, now under water, in the region south-west of Lake Titicaca.

irregular field boundareis west of Lake Poopo
Above, these irregular sand formations IN THE LAKE POOPO AREA NEAR ANDAMARCA may conceal irregular field boundaries, similar to those seen above in the Titicaca region

irregular field boundareis west of Lake Poopo
Above, oblique view showing irregular formations near Andamarca, Lake Poopo which may conceal irregular field boundaries, similar to those seen above in the Titicaca region.

irregular field boundaries west of Lake Poopo
Above, oblique view showing irregular formations near Andamarca, Lake Poopo which may conceal irregular field boundaries, similar to those seen above in the Titicaca region.

irregular field boundareis west of Lake Poopo
Above, oblique view showing old walls now beneath sand dunes on the edge of the Salar de Coipasa, west of Andamarca, Lake Poopo region.

irregular field boundareis west of Lake Poopo
Above, oblique view showing artificial fish ponds with interconnecting channels near Pampa Aullagas, Lake Poopo.

ringed hilltop near Turco
Above, landforms north of Oruro.

ringed hilltop near Oruro
Above, oblique view of ringed hilltop with eastern half destroyed by earthquakes, sw of Oruro, Lake Poopo zone. The rings are remains of concentric ancient irrigation channels or walled terraces with stone walls for the enclosure of animals built alongside them at a later period.

ringed hilltop near Oruro
Above, concentric enclosures north of Oruro. The rings are walled terraces and the site is similar to Chankillo in Peru.

fields on mountainside near Turco
Above, fields on mountainside, oblique view near Turco/Carangas, Lake Poopo zone.

ringed hilltop near Turco
Above, oblique view ringed hilltop near Turco, Lake Poopo zone.

ringed hilltop near Turco
Above, oblique view ringed hilltop with earthquake damage south of Turco, Oruro/Lake Poopo zone.

ringed hilltop atlantis-style near Turco
Above, close-up oblique view suggests that these rings are remains of concentric ancient irrigation channels but in an onsite visit, only concentric walls could be seen. Hilltop south of Turco, Oruro/Lake Poopo zone. The surrounding terraces have been destroyed by earthquakes.

   And who says Atlantis never existed?

   See also additional studies,
   agricultural variations on the Altiplano    geoglyph fossilised agriculture    ringed hilltops   earthquakes
   contour forms/irrigation Peru   contourforms/irigation Bolivia    Bombo earthquake route    Bombo route oblique views

   atlantis canals on the Altiplano    canals gallery   Chipaya canals gallery   canals in Peru   Caral, Peru containment canal
   Paria, Oruro containment canals   canal to sea (lago UruUru)   Pantanal
   Beni, Moxos gallery    rio Paraguay levees canals    rio Parana canals, ponds and islands    rio Parana delta canals   Corrientes
   rio Amazon to Manaus   rio Amazon west from Manaus   rio Orinocco to Amazon canal
   canals on the Louisiana seaboard   Tabasco, Mexico canals gallery   flooding dates on the Altiplano   Atlantis stones gallery

   Atlantis stade - Egyptian and Sumerian cubits   Tiwanaku cubits    Peru cubits and calendar    cubits between altiplano canals
   Teotihuacan measuring unit    Teotihuacan citadel measuring units
   Chichen Itza and El Castillo measuring units    Monte Alban, measuring units
   the Tiwanaku soli-lunar calendar    the Muisca calendar     Lost Calendar of the Andes     Decoding the quipu mathematics

   J.M. Allen 5th Nov 2009
   webatlantis@hotmail.com

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