A Guide to the Citadel of Machu Picchu Peru

Here is a little quick reference outline of what this web page covers and links to them for your convenience.

1) Money exchange rate.
2) Tickets
3) How long will it take?
4) When to go.
5) Cusco
6) Ollantaytambo
7) Aguas Calientes
8) Machu Picchu
9) Hotel Information
10) Taxi Information
11) Shopping

May 2016 --- Let's first determine the exchange rate. The last time I was in Peru the exchange rate was 3.3 Peruvian Nuevo Sol (sol for short) to $1 US dollar. This web page is calculated using this exchange rate. You can determine what the exchange rate is today by clicking here Google Exchange Rate .You will arrive in Cusco tired and ready to eat and sleep. Get any taxi at the airport to take you to your hotel. They will offer you a tour of the city the next day for $20 (60 sol). The next day they will show up and want to sit down and talk. They will show you a tour book and want to charge you $100 (333 sol) or more plus $40 (133 sol) for tickets to the various attractions. Unless you want to be packed in a bus and taken to a dozen places you really do not want to see, stay away from this sort of tour deal. If, in the other extreme, you want to walk to the ruins via the Inca trail, you definitely want to do more research and take advantage of a good outfitter that specializes in this sort of journey.

This journey as planned will take 5 days and 4 nights. You will arrive in Cusco on day 1. You will find your hotel, go to Plaza de Armas and obtain your train tickets. If you have time you will see Cusco via taxi. You will spend night 1 in Cusco. On day 2 you will travel to Ollantaytambo via taxi. You will travel the southern route through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You will spend night 2 in Ollantaytambo. On day 3 you will travel via train to Aguas Calientes, visit Machu Picchu, and return via train to Ollantaytambo. You will spend night 3 in Ollantaytambo. On day 4 you will travel from Ollantaytambo back to Cusco via taxi taking the northern route through the Sacred Valley. You can then spend the rest of the day seeing parts of Cusco that interest you and partaking in the local cuisine. You will spend night 4 in Cusco. You can then leave to your next destination on day 5.

While in Cusco you will want to go to the town center Plaza de Armas. Here you will want to visit the old church, walk around the square, and purchase your train ticket to Aguas Calientes. You can use Peru Rail or INCA rail. I used Peru Rail. Purchase your train tickets to go from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. Note: you will have to choose a time to go from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and a time to return from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. If for some reason you wish to change your return time, it is going to be expensive. They will charge you a lot for making the change. I had 6 hours between arriving in Aguas Calientes and leaving Aguas Calientes and that was too long. I had a lot of time in Aguas Calientes just sitting around and waiting for my departure time. I eventually paid a $15 (50 sol) premium to leave on an earlier train that only got me back to Ollantaytambo about an hour earlier than my initial tickets. It is difficult to determine how much time you will need in Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. We buzzed through Machu Picchu in probably twice the average time but we had good weather and we were in good physical condition for late 50's early 60's individuals and able to walk the steep terrain without making too many stops to catch our breath. Just be prepared to be board if you visit the ruins, eat, and shop for a while and still have a couple of hours left before you can get back on the train. However, it is probably better to be board for a couple of hours than be rushed especially on a trip where weather and terrain can cost you a lot of time. I have been fortunate and only seen a shower or two when I have been there. In fact, it was hot and sunny and I was over prepared for weather. But on the other hand, if there is weather and you are not prepared, you will be miserable. There is no place within the Machu Picchu ruins to get out of the weather. You must provide your own protection and umbrellas are not allowed.

So to sum it up, you will spend 2 nights in Cusco (1 at the beginning and one at the end) and 2 consecutive nights in Ollantaytambo. This time can be reduced but your timing must be perfect. You can arrive in Cusco in the morning and be driven to Ollantaytambo the same day. This would eliminate 1 night in Cusco. But you will still need 2 nights in Ollantaytambo because you will travel on the train to Aguas Calientes in the morning and not return to Ollantaytambo until after dark. You could then be driven back to Cusco the next morning and still have time to catch a flight in the afternoon. This would reduce your trip to 3 days and 2 nights but it would be doing Machu Picchu in a rush.










When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu? Its location in the Andean foothills means that Machu Picchu may receive rain at any time of year but the wet season between November and April brings the most rainfall making the stones of the ruins slippery to walk on with the possibility of mud slides. This time of year also means fog and thick clouds are more likely to obscure views across the site and out towards the surrounding mountain ranges. January and February tend to be the wettest months. Between May and October the temperatures are pleasant with little rainfall and generally clear, bright days, perfect for panoramic views of Machu Picchu. The peak tourist season here is July and August when the weather is at its best and many countries around the world are on school holidays, which means high numbers of visitors. If you prefer to avoid the worst of the crowds and the worst of the bad weather then the months of April and November are a good time to visit. Machu Picchu is open from 6.30 AM to 5 PM and busiest between 11 AM and 3 PM when day trippers arrive from Cusco. Reaching the complex first thing in the morning means you can catch the sunrise and share the experience with the Inca Trail trekkers that would have just arrived after 3 days hiking. Towards the last few hours of the day the crowds do thin out and those left prefer a more leisurely walk around the site so this is a nice time to visit. Early morning and late afternoon are also the best time for photography with softer lighting conditions. When to go - late April early May is a good time to avoid the rain. Days get hot in the afternoon and are cool in the evening. Sept – Oct -1/2 Nov no rain, hot, and not so expensive – Miguel Casa Chilon

The way I like to get to Ollantaytambo is via taxi. It should cost you around 60 sol for the ride from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. Get Oscar and he will be happy to be your tour guide while traveling from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. You will drive through the Sacred Valley to get to Ollantaytambo. There are 2 distinct ways to go from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. The southern route has the most to see where the northern route has fewer ruins and only a little to see. You can, however, have your taxi driver take you going one way and return the other. The same taxi driver will be happy to pick you up at your hotel and return you to Cusco. The cost for that is $36 (120 sol). If you do not what to do that, there are always taxi's driving around Ollantaytambo looking for return fairs to Cusco. You will have already purchased your train ticket to Aguas Calientes.

First and foremost you will want to purchase your entrance tickets to Machu Picchu and your train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes via PERURAIL or INCA RAIL over the internet so you are sure you have accessibility to the ruins on the day(s) you want. The number of entrance tickets to Machu Picchu are limited per day so purchase them as far in advance as possible and purchase your train tickets accordingly. I have only used PERURAIL and found their least expensive service to be comfortable and adequate. You can purchase your tickets to Machu Picchu via Machu Picchu Tickets. Tickets prices range from $37 (123 sol) to $71 (237 sol) depending if you are a student or not and where you want to go. You can see the various levels, places, and availability by clicking on the aforementioned link. You will want to print your entrance tickets and your train reservations and bring them with you to Peru. You will then have to get to Cusco, Peru. By airline is the preferred method.

Cusco is a clean well-policed community with very friendly people. This is a place you can take your wife and kids without too many worries. There are pickpockets and those who will liberate your belongings if left unattended, but you are unlikely to get held up at gunpoint at an intersection or on the street. Practically every major intersection has a female police officer directing traffic. Yes, female and many on motorcycles too. There are many good hotels with affordable prices. Trip Advisor is one of several good website's to use to find a hotel. Most hotel staff will speak English and of course Spanish. If you use a taxi, be sure it is a taxi recommended or even summoned by the hotel staff. Cusco is at an elevation of 11,200 ft (3,400 m) so if you have altitude issues you will want to be ready to address them. It's not a bad idea to stay in Cusco at least one night to acclimate yourself to the altitude. This is a good time to tour the city on foot. Go to Plaza de Armas and see the old churches. While at Plaza de Armas you will want to take your train ticket reservations to whichever train service you have chosen and actually get your train tickets. PERURAIL and INCA RAIL both have offices at Plaza de Armas. They also have offices at the airport, however, the one time I tried I waited in line for some time to find out their computer system was down and they could not do anything. With both train services, there are several levels of accommodation available at varying prices. While walking around the city, try the local cuisine - do a little shopping.

Ctisto Blanco Cusco PeruSacsayhuaman Cusco Peru

Take a taxi up to Cristo Blanco and visit the ruins at Sacsayhuaman. There is a fee to get into the ruins but it is one of the few Inca ruins you can visit without hiking half way up a mountain to see. There is no charge to visit Cristo Blanco.



Cusco Peru Cusco PeruCusco Peru

The 3 pictures to the right are the view of Cusco from an old church plaza on the way to Cristo Blanco at the top of the hill North of Cusco.


You will then need to get from Cusco to the city of Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is some 37 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Cusco. That is about a 1 to 4 hour journey depending on what mode of transportation you choose and how often you stop to take in the wonders of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There are many means by which to get there. You can go by bus, taxi, tour bus, or train. You can even walk the Inca trail if you are so inclined. All along the way there are ruins and vistas that are worth seeing. However, in the case of ruins, you will probably be happy to view them from afar because in all cases there will be a fee to enter and it will be quite the hike to get up to them. The altitude, steep climb, and time tends to be a deterrent from actually exploring many of them.

Sacred Valley Cusco Peru Sacred Valley Cusco Peru Sacred Valley Cusco Peru Sacred Valley Cusco Peru Sacred Valley Cusco Peru
Vista and ruins scenery while traveling through the Sacred Valley of the Incas on the way to Ollantaytambo.

Ollantaytambo is a small quaint town with a lot of color and history. It lies in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in the Southern Sierra region of Peru at an altitude of 9,160 ft (2,792 m). This is where the Incas retreated after the Spanish took Cusco.

Ollantaytambo PeruOllantaytambo PeruMuch of the town is laid out in the same way as it was in Inca times. It is not modern by any means. It appears to be newer stone structures built atop very old stone foundations. You will want to spend at least one night here - possibly two. Again, Trip Advisor is one of several good website's to use to find a hostel. Mid-priced rooms will be small and primitive but clean and comfortable. Forget having a TV or screaming-fast internet in your room - it isn't going to happen. Just be thankful for hot water or a private bathroom. But, you should get a free breakfast at the upper end hostels and the ones where I have stayed had have been adequate. Be sure to check when you book your room to be sure about breakfast, private bath, and hot water. It is a short walk to the center of town from just about anywhere and there is food, shopping, and many sights to see. There is a strong police presence and I have met groups of women (2 or more) who felt safe walking from their hostel to one of the upstairs restaurants near the center of town to have a snack and a beer or two after dark. This is very much a tourist town where you will meet people from all over the world. Many of the walkways to and from the hostels are lit at night. This is where you might want to try eating llama or alpaca but almost all of the restaurants serve pizza - Peruvian style. There are several ruins all around the city that can be visited for a small admission fee but walking up to them can be exhausting. Ollantaytambo Peru Ollantaytambo Peru Ollantaytambo Peru There are motorized rickshaws that will take you from one end of town to the other for a small fare. The train station is a downhill walk from the city center and can be easily navigated in 15 to 20 minutes. However, you may want to take one of the rickshaws from the train station back to your hostel as at this altitude the uphill walk is a bit tough. The center picture on the right is the road that dead ends into the train station.

Ollantaytambo Train Station Peru Ollantaytambo Train Peru Ollantaytambo Train Peru Ollantaytambo Train Peru



From Ollantaytambo you must take a 2+ hour train ride to Aguas Calientes. It is a very scenic ride through steep mountain passes where glaciers are visible on several neighbouring mountains.

Aguas Calientes is at an elevation of 6,693 ft (2040 m). It is the seat of the Machupicchu District. Machupicchu lies at the Willkanuta River. It is the closest access point to the historical site of Machu Picchu which is 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) away or about a 1.5 hours walk up a steep mountainside with stone steps. You have to deal with the dust from the buses roaring by every few minutes on a road that switches back and forth all the way to the top, but yes, you can walk. In the city there are many hotels and restaurants for tourists, as well as natural hot baths which gave the town its colloquial Spanish name. The baths were destroyed by floods several years ago, but have been rebuilt.

Aguas Calientes Peru Aguas Calientes Peru Once at the Aguas Calientes train station you will walk through the souvenir shopping area, over the bridge, and down to the bus terminal.

Just follow the crowd that got off of the train or ask anyone for directions along the way.

Aguas Calientes PeruThere is a small ticket booth where you will purchase tickets to take the bus up to the entrance to the Citadel of Machu Picchu. They are open daily. No prior reservation is required. The rate will be around $24 for an adult, children are less. This will get you up to the entrance of Machu Picchu and back to Aguas Calientes after your visit. Everyone purchasing a ticket will need to provide their passport.

Hotel accommodations are available in Aguas Calientes but dragging you luggage to and from Aguas Calientes via the train is not worth it unless you plan to spend a few days in Aguas Calientes. You can easily arrive in Aguas Calientes in the morning, see Machu Picchu, eat, and shop all in one day - returning to Ollantaytambo via the train in the evening.

Machu Picchu Peru Well, you have finally arrived at the purpose of your trip to visit the Citadel of Machu Picchu. The bus will drop you off right at the entrance to Machu Picchu. Note: umbrellas are not allowed inside Machu Picchu. Wear a hat and have a poncho available incase it rains. The elevation of Machu Picchu is 7,972 ft (2430 m). Walking up the steep pathways can be difficult and slippery when wet. Go slow and be alert. Falling down one of these steep rock stairways could be a real problem. Take short breaks along the way to catch your breath and rest your muscles.

Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti from about 1438 to 1472. Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. They think the Incas abandoned the citadel around the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was apparently not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared. You can see stones stacked in the left side of the picture above. These are stones periodically brought to the site by truck and are then used in the reconstruction effort. By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored and restoration continues today.

Machu Picchu Peru Machu Picchu Peru Because of the steepness of the area, most visitors will take the flat or even down hill route from the entrance to the center of the citadel. I recommend making a left turn after entering the ruins and work your way up the steps as far as you can go. This will give you an awesome perspective of the ruins and the rest of your day can be spent traveling down hill into the center of the citadel. This also gets you away from the crowd and provides you with some great photo opportunities without having a crowd of people in front and in back of you.

Machu Picchu Peru Machu Picchu Peru If you take this route you will end up at the walkway to the Sun Gate (left). This is a 45 minute hike to the Sun Gate and 30 minutes back but is worth seeing the Sun Gate (right) if you have the time and energy to do so.

Machu Picchu Peru Machu Picchu Peru Machu Picchu PeruIf you go to see the Sun Gate - great - if not - that's OK too. You will be near the top of the ruins and will have a great panoramic view of the citadel. You can then begin working your way down to the center of the citadel.

Machu Picchu Peru Machu Picchu Peru Machu Picchu PeruMachu Picchu Peru

I highly recommend you traverse your way to the Temple area located to the left of center of the citadel. Here you will find the Main Temple, Temple of the Three Windows, House of the High Priest, and the Temple of the Moon. This is all in one area and worth seeing. As you can see in the pictures, the stone construction in this area differs from all of the other rock structures at the site. Very large multi-ton stones have been fitted precisely together. You also see similar stone work in the old foundations of Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes. I cannot explain these obvious anomalies. I don't think anyone else can either.

From here you can traverse toward the exit without having to travel too far back up hill.

A note about tours and guides. These people derive their living from selling package tours where you are taken to various places of interest by way of a bus - often a crowded bus. You go where they take you and the price is often expensive. If you like this sort of thing, there are many tours available that can be purchased online. All over Cusco you will find tour businesses where tours of varying degrees can be booked. Your taxi driver from the airport will be happy to accommodate you and sell you one of several package deals. These range from tours of Cusco to tours of the Sacred Valley and transportation to Ollantaytambo. Any hotel in Cusco will be able to direct you to several outlets for guided tours. However, I find these tours to be more annoying than helpful. You can see the things you should see and spend the amount of time where you want to spend your time for a lot less money. I prefer to see the sights I want to see at my own pace as opposed to leaving it up to some tour.

Now that you are done with seeing Machu Picchu, you will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes PeruIf you planned your time correctly, you will have some time to rest, relax, have some lunch, check out the sights, and do some shopping before your train leaves to take you back to Ollantaytambo. The food at all of the cafes adjacent to the river is really quite good and at a fair price. I have eaten at several and have yet to be disappointed. Hairless Dog Aguas Calientes Peru

Do not be alarmed by the black hairless dogs you will see roaming the streets. You will see them in both Aguas Calientes and Ollantaytambo. They are the national dog of Peru and fairly common throughout Peru.

You will arrive in Ollantaytambo in the late afternoon or after dark so you will want to spend another night and return to Cusco the following day.

Good journey my friend!

Hotel information: I have stayed at Tierra Viva Cusco Centro - Callle Cruz Verde 390, Cusco, Peru. I have stayed here several times. It is clean. They have a free breakfast that is quite good. The TV and internet work as good as can be expected and they are reasonably priced. Many of the staff speak English. This hotel is a few blocks walk from Plaza de Armas. Stay anywhere you wish in Cusco but the closer to Plaza de Armis the better.

Taxi drivers: I recommend Oscar Silva. His cell phone number is 950 393275 and his email is Oscar Silva Your Friend In Peru . Oscar speaks some but limited English. You can have the front desk of your hotel call him and see if he is available to accommodate you. If so - great. If not, have the hotel personnel call a taxi for you and ask for someone who speaks English. The amount of english these drivers know will vary but you can negotiate with any of them for a ride to and from Ollantaytambo and touring the city. Please tip these people well especially if you like what they have done for you. If you like the Peruvian music they are playing, ask them to get you a CD - they usually will. The tour of the city should be around $20. You should be taken up to Cristo Blanco and Sacsayhuaman. Ask your taxi driver to take you to to local restaurant where you can eat the local cuisine and even dance on a stage. They have good food. Buy your taxi driver lunch. You can also have them take you to the bazaar where you sit on a bench and eat traditional local food and see all of the shopping areas where the locals shop. This is a very interesting and cultural adventure.

Oscar will charge you 60 sol for the ride to Ollantaytambo and 120 sol to pick you up in Ollantaytambo and drive you back to Cusco. Ask to be taken to Ollantaytambo via the southern route and return to Cusco via the northern route where you can see the Puma and see the Kui. Both routes are about the same distance with the southern route having the most to see and thus will probably take longer in terms of time because you will be stopping a lot. But why not see the entire Sacred Valley while you are there?

Shopping I have found several items in Aguas Calientes that I was unable to find - at least as good - any where else. One of these items are the silver saddled llamas. You can purchase them at the open market with stones adorning the silver saddle in Aguas Calientes only at a fairly reasonable price - about $30 each for the small style. They come in small, medium, and large. If you purchase more than one you can get the price down a few dollars. But, the further you get away from Aguas Calientes the harder it will be to find these items and especially with the stones adorning the silver saddle. At the Cusco airport you will find them for $100 each but with a silver saddle only. Alpaca and llama blankets and clothing can be found at both the Aguas Calientes and Ollantaytambo open markets. However, I think the alpaca blankets are a better deal at the Ollantaytambo open market. The Ollantaytambo open markets is located over the bridge beyond the road that leads to the train station.

Be sure to visit the chocolate factory on your left just before the open market. They have awesome chocolate and you will learn a lot about coca and how it is used. In the picture are 2 people from Northern California who were traveling around South America. They worked at the chocolate factory for a few weeks for room and board while in Ollantaytambo.

More adventures from Frank and Mark:

Ay Caramba Colombia - Emeralds - Cartagena - Bogota - Chivor - Coscuez - Muzo

Cambodia - Zircon and The Tempels of Angkor Wat

South America - Bolivia - La Paz - Tiwanaku - Puma Punku - Brazil - Belo Horizonte - Ouro Preto - Colombia - Emeralds - Peru - Cusco - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu

Links To Other Quality Websites

Now let me blow your mind!
Try to wrap your head around this.

At the equator the earth spins at 1000 miles per hour = 1609 kilometers per hour.

The earth rotates around the sun at about 67,000 miles per hour = 107,826 kilometers per hour.

The sun is rotating around the galaxy at about 559,000 miles per hour (250 km/s according to Vera Rubin, the lady who discovered this in the 1970's). In fact, the majority of the suns in all galaxies rotate around their respective black hole very close to this same speed. One would expect the rotation to be much like our solar system where the outer planets rotate slower and the inner planets rotate faster. Not so for the stars in a galaxy. Stars, at many varying distances from the black hole at the galaxy center, are all rotating at the same speed. This results in the pinwheel shapes common to most galaxies. No one really knows exactly why this is. It is being explained as the result of dark matter.

Our galaxy, along with the local group of galaxies, is moving through space at about 1,340,000 miles per hour = 2,156,521 kilometers per hour.

Astronomers speculate that space is expanding at about 152,112 miles per hour = 244,801 kilometers per hour.

Add it all up and we are traveling through space at more than 2,000,000 miles per hour = 3,218,688 kilometers per hour. Other estimates say upwards of 2.8 million miles per hour = 4.5 million kilometers per hour. That is somewhere between 550 and 800 miles per second = 1,288 kilometers per second. At that speed you could travel from the earth to the moon, 238,900 miles away, in under 6 minutes. In any case, it is fast - damn fast.

It's hard to imagine traveling that fast. It's impossible to relate to these speeds especially when we feel like we are standing still in space.

As a comparison, the speed of light is 6.706e+8 mph or 670,600,000 miles per hour which is about 671 million miles per hour or about 186,000 miles per second ~ 300,000 kilometers per second.

That is about 300 times faster than we are traveling through space.

Something I should also mention is that in addition to moving through space at such an extreme speed, our sun with the planets moves up and down through the plane of our galaxy like a merry go round while traveling around the galaxy. This merry go round up and down oscillation is on a 60,000 year cycle. So, this up and down movement through the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy takes us into areas of our galaxy that may be less desirable than others. It could take us through debris clouds or near magnetars or black holes that could cause havoc in various catastrophic ways for the earth.

Did you know?
- the universe has more platinum atoms than silver atoms? Platinum is the pricier metal because on earth it is much rarer than silver because billions of years ago much of the platinum and gold sank out of the earth's crust and into its core. There is an estimated 6 times more platinum than gold in the earth's core.

Why Is Earth's Weather Changing?

Now let's look at the Earth's path through space and how it affects the weather. Global warming or cooling - absolutely. Manmade - a little but nothing like earth itself. No doubt humankind is contributing to weather change, but the earth's orbit will override and exceed anything man will do.

Why you ask?

The Earth's rotational axis is tilted slightly at 23.5 degrees. The Earth's axis rotates around this circle once every 20,000 years. The north star today is Polaris, however, 5 thousand years ago it was a different star altogether (Theban) and thousands of years from now it will be Vega. Today the orientation is the northern hemisphere is leaning away from the sun. This position is why the Sarah Desert is a desert where it was more tropical, wet, and green 15,000 years ago.

The Earth's orbit around the sun is also not constant and varies widely over time. Today the Earth's orbit around the sum is almost circular so summers and winters are mild. However, due to influences from the Sun and moon, Earth's orbit can go slightly elliptical. The cycle between elliptical and circular is 100,000 years. The effect of this orbital change will be hotter summers and colder winters.

Jupiter and Mars have an even bigger effect on Earth's orbit where a 405,000 year cycle takes the Earth's orbit on an extremely elliptical orbit. This orbit is thought to have been responsible for snowball earth several times in Earth's past.

Yes, Earth's climate is changing, and it is going to change way more dramatically than any of us can imagine. All these orbital changes have happened several times in the past and will happen again many more times in the future. 20,000 years from now there will be vast changes where the Sarah Desert will be green again. But these changes will be the result of the Earth's orbit around the Sun and will probably have little to do with human evolution.

Another event not often associated with weather disturbances is the occasional flip of earth's magnetic field known as geomagnetic reversal. Earth's magnetic poles are not static. The magnetic poles wander and occasionally reverse around every 200,000 to 300,000 years. The Earth's magnetic field has reversed nine times during the past four million years. The last known complete 180-degree magnetic pole shift last happened 42,000 years ago and took approximately 1000 years to complete the shift. As of late, Earth's magnetic North pole has wandered considerably on a path toward northern Russia. Scientists know that Earth's magnetic field has weakened about 9% in the past 170 years. The magnetic North pole has also been drifting more rapidly since the 1990s, at a rate of 30 to 40 miles per year.

The pole shift 42,000 years ago is suspected to have contributed to the demise of Neanderthal’s. While the poles were shifting, additional cosmic rays and high-energy particles from outer space would have depleted ozone concentrations, opening the floodgates for more ultraviolet radiation in the atmosphere over a long period of time. Shifting weather would have expanded the ice sheet over North America and dried out Australia, prompting the extinction of many large mammal species. Solar storms, meanwhile, might have driven ancient humans to seek shelter in caves. As competition for resources grew, our closest extinct human relative, Neanderthals, may have died out.

But there is more to our travels through space than drastic changes in the weather.

Mass extinctions of life on Earth appear to also follow regular patterns based on our solar system traveling up and down in relation to the galactic plane.

Widespread die-offs of land-dwelling animals – which include amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds – follow a cycle of about 27 million years.

Additionally, these mass extinctions coincide with major asteroid impacts and devastating volcanic outpourings of lava, rock, and a lethal amounts of deadly gases poisoning the atmosphere.

Global mass extinctions are presumably caused by the largest cataclysmic impacts and massive volcanism, perhaps sometimes working in concert.

Paleontologists had previously discovered that similar mass extinctions of marine life, in which up to 90% of species disappeared, were not random events, but seemed to come in a 26 million year cycle.

These new findings of coinciding, sudden mass extinctions on land and in the oceans, and of the common 26 to 27 million year cycle, lend credence to the idea of periodic global catastrophic events as the triggers for the extinctions.

Three of the mass annihilations of species on land and in the sea are already known to have occurred at the same times as the three largest impacts of the last 250 million years, each capable of causing a global disaster and resulting mass extinctions.

These impacts can create conditions that would stress and potentially kill off land and marine life, including widespread dark and cold, wildfires, acid rain and ozone depletion. The most infamous asteroid strike we know of is the one that killed off the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago, which overall wiped out 70% of the species on Earth.

It seems that large-body impacts and the pulses of internal Earth activity that create flood-basalt volcanism may be marching to the same 27 million year drumbeat as the extinctions, more than likely paced by our orbit in the galaxy.

And as for where we are in the current cycle, we are about 20 million years away from the next predicted mass extinction that's due to a comet strike or volcanic activity.

How could this be? Aren't asteroid or comet impacts completely random? Not so. Because our sun with the planets travels up and down through the plane of our galaxy like a merry go round while traveling around the galaxy, our planet will pass through a crowded part of our Milky Way galaxy about every 30 million years. During those times, comet and meteor showers are more likely, leading to large impacts on the Earth.

The above study was published 12/11/2020 in the journal Historical Biology.



Mark has had a theory for a very long time. We know from Albert Einstein that time and space are relative and therefore are not constant. Affecting one affects and changes the other. Gravity warps space and also time. Speed also warps time. Time runs slower wherever gravity is strongest. This is because gravity curves space-time. Also, the faster the relative velocity between two people or places, the greater the time dilation between one another. They say this rate of time diminishes to zero as one approaches the speed of light. This effect is not linear. It is exponential like the Mohs hardness scale or the Richter earthquake scale. For sufficiently high speeds, near the speed of light, this effect is dramatic. For example, a persons perceived one year of travel near the speed of light might correspond to ten years of time on Earth. That said, our time here on earth is influenced by speed because, as you know, we are traveling through space at somewhere around 2+ million miles per hour. So we can see that our perceived time is slower, about 0.5% slower, than the time of something standing still in space. We also know on earth we are influenced by the gravity of the earth, the sun, and the galaxy we are traveling through space in so our perceived time is also slowed by all that gravitational influence. This effect is also exponential where higher gravitational influence cause the most dramatic effects. Adding up the slowing of our time resulting from our speed and the gravity that is influencing us means that our perceived time is slower than actual time in space without these influences. So, when we look out into the universe, we see the universe not only expanding but speeding up (accelerating) because our time is running slower than what we are looking at. Therefore, Mark doubts that the speed of galaxies in the universe are accelerating away from one another as scientist's have speculated. The universe is expanding, maybe, but not accelerating. Mark has been mulling over this concept for years. Some think this concept has merit and many think it is nuts. What do you think?

Today's theories speculate that the galaxies in the universe are all speeding away from one another as a function of their distance apart where some galaxies are traveling away from us at more than the speed of light because space in that area is expanding at greater speeds the farther something is away. So, a galaxy 4 light years away is traveling away from us 4 times faster than a galaxy 2 light years away. If we were to travel at the speed of light in one direction, there would be galaxies disappearing before our eyes because they are so far away that they are moving away from us faster than the speed of light because where they are space is expanding faster than the speed of light. Furthermore, this expansion of space in all directions is going on relative to every other point in space. This is supposedly all caused by a substance we can neither see and apparently does not affect us - dark matter and dark energy. Called dark because we have no idea what it is but without it the universe does not work.

Moving on - they say the H0liCOW estimate puts the Hubble constant at about 71.9 kilometers (44.7 miles) per second per megaparsec (one megaparsec equals about 3.3 million light-years). In 2001, Dr. Wendy Freedman determined space to expand at 72 kilometers per second per megaparsec - roughly 3.3 million light years - meaning that for every 3.3 million light years further away from the earth you are, the matter where you are, is moving away from earth 72 kilometers a second faster. In 2015, another team, using observations of the cosmic microwave background, determined the rate was 67.8 kilometers per second per megaparsec. Time dilation in a gravitational field is equal to time dilation in far space, due to a speed that is needed to escape that gravitational field.
Here is the proof:

Dilation equation