Researchers studying sediment in Belize's Blue Hole have found that the weather may actually have been what caused the collapse of the Mayan civilization.
Theories as to why a civilization as strong and advanced as the Mayan dissolved so rapidly are plentiful, and range from uprisings to alien invasions. Researchers studying sediment in Belize's Great Blue Hole have found that the weather may actually have been the culprit.
Their findings give a boost to the probability that a drought was behind the demise, a theory that has been gaining popularity in recent years. The team, led by a Rice University professor, found that silt layers dated to around 800 AD show evidence of significantly diminished rainfall. A second dry period is believed to have commenced approximately 1,000 AD. That timeline coincides with significant events in the final centuries of the Mayan civilization. It's known that beginning in the year AD700 their building efforts slowed down, and they ultimately relocated from the central Yucatan peninsula to the northern areas.
By AD1100, however, their new home at Chichen Itza had fallen as well. The scientists believe that the reason behind the lengthy periods of drought was a change in weather patterns. A monsoon that swept through the area regularly changed course, depriving the region of a significant means of precipitation.
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