In the inner parts of an ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, scientists have allegedly tracked air pollution from the left over of the 16th century Spanish silver mines. It seems that the Inca Empire conquering in 1572 was soon followed by taking advantage of the population in the silver mines in dreadful conditions, a method that the Spanish have used to flaunt their authority and dominance.
The mines of Potosi in Bolivia were evidently the wealthiest silver reserves in the entire world.Its remnants had been conserved as residue from the haze of metallic dust that churned out from the mines and eventually preserved well inside an ice cap belonging in the Peruvian Andes.
The Incas has their ways of extracting silver much before the Spanish took over their territory. The Spanish commenced a new technique which would lead to a rise in production but at the cost of emitting lead dust and other pollutants in the environment. This condition ultimately spread over the entire area such as the Quelccaya Ice cap which is located around 500 miles northwest in southern region of Peru.
The Colonial era silver extracting mission dating from the 16th century and all through the 18th continued with the Spanish forcing the usage of these pollutants. This event is the most primitive evidence of a significant man-made air pollution to have ever taken place before the commencement of the industrial revolution.
More than a decade ago, in 2003, researchers from Ohio State University removed a sequence of Quelccaya ice cores. This ice raking assisted in exposing layers of airborne particles entrapped in the Andes over centuries. This is a way of connecting the dots of the climatic history of the Earth.
Lonnie Thompson, the co-author of the study described, We consider the Quelccaya ice record to be a kind of Rosetta Stone for gauging climate change in the tropics because of its very high-resolution, 1,800-year history and its proximity to locations of ancient Andean cultures.
This new finding further proves that human civilization has brought out changes in the atmosphere from a much longer time than originally thought.