Archaeology & History
Drought is likely cause of Mayan collapse
By T.K. Randall
December 30, 2014 · 11 comments
People flock to Tikal during the Mayan winter solstice. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Bjorn Christian Torrissen
Further evidence has been found suggesting that drought caused the collapse of the Mayan civilization.
With their impressive pyramids and unrivaled mastery of mathematics, writing and art the Maya were one of the most successful civilizations ever to arise in South America.
The remnants of their sophisticated constructions continue to be a popular attraction more than 1,000 years after they disappeared and their calendars were so influential that even in the modern world many people believed them to signify the end of days.
Mystery still remains however over the exact events that lead to the Mayan civilization's collapse. Many theories have been suggested but the one that continues to hold the most weight is that their prosperous society was brought down by an extended period of intense drought.
Now scientists believe that they have discovered further evidence to support this idea in the form of core samples taken from the sediment of the Great Blue Hole, a 1,000ft crater off the coast of Belize in which sediment from the time of the Mayans has been conveniently preserved.
By comparing the ratio of titanium to aluminum in the samples researchers have been able to determine that the Mayan were plagued by a dry period lasting more than two-hundred years.
"The team found that during the period between A.D. 800 and A.D. 1000, when the Mayan civilization collapsed, there were just one or two tropical cyclones every two decades, as opposed to the usual five or six," said Rice University scientist Andre Droxler.
Source: Washington Post
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