A new study of the Great Blue Hole in Belize suggests that the rapid decline of the Ancient Mayan civilization was drought, reports Pioneer News: Studying the Big Blue Hole in Belize has led scientists to a theory about the end of the Mayan civilization which thrived from 300 to 700 CE.
“It’s like a big bucket. It’s a sediment trap,” explains Rice University Earth scientist, Andre Droxler. The study co-author continues, “When you have major drought, you start to get famines and unrest.”
Discovery explains how researchers use the Big Blue Hold in Belize to determine the how a shift in climate could have so dramatically affected the Mayan civilization: “During storms or wetter periods, excess water runs off from rivers and streams, overtops the retaining walls, and is deposited in a thin layer at the top of the lagoon. From there, all the sediments from these streams settle to the bottom of the lagoon, piling on top of each other and leaving a chronological record of the historical climate.”
“There’s a tremendous amount of change going on in Guatemala,” explains Robert Oglesby, a researcher from the University of Nebraska. He goes on to say, “They may be that much more vulnerable to a severe drought.”
And the new findings do suggest that somewhere around AD 1000—during the height of the Little Ice Age—another major drought hit the area. This period actually falls directly in line with the fall of Chichen Itza, which further supports the idea that a severe drought helped to bring the demise of the Mayan people. Read the full story at pioneer news.