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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cause of the Mayan Extinction

As the summer rains, failed, Maya priests sacrificed humans in an effort appease Chaac, the god of rain. (Picture from: http://summitcountyvoice.com/)
Hollywood movie-themed apocalypse, 2012 refers to myth the end of the Mayan calendar, on December 21, 2012. Maya civilization reached its peak in 250-925 AD by generating building, agriculture, and others.

What caused the Maya empire centered in the Yucatan Peninsula, Central America, went extinct? Recent research suggests the Mayan civilization disappeared due to a mild drought. So, instead of a severe drought as believed so far. 
Ruins of the Maya city of Altun Ha, in present-day, Belize. (Picture from: http://summitcountyvoice.com/)
The study, published in the journal Science was conducted by the Center for Scientific Research Yucatan in southern Mexico and the University of Southampton in England. Scientists forecast a decline to 25-40 percent of rainfall on an ongoing basis is enough to drain the seasonal water supplies in areas inhabited by the Mayans.

They use sophisticated modeling to estimate rainfall and evaporation rates that occurred in 800-950 AD, when the classic Maya civilization declined sharply. "Our results show rather modest rainfall reductions between times when the Classic Maya civilization flourished and its collapse between 800 to 950," said researcher Eelco Rohling, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Southampton in England. 

Apparently, the decline in rainfall is slowly draining the fresh water storage systems in the lowlands of the Yucatan. Location of residence Mayan calendar does not have a river. "The amount of rainfall decreased only 25-40 percent per year, but there is a large room that led to the evaporation of open water source dries quickly," Rohling said. 

According to Rohling, water shortages cause disruption in society. As a result, many members of the community left the city, mainly due to recurrent droughts that occur every year. 
Tikal ruins, urban centres of the Maya civilization is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. (Picture from: http://www.ibtimes.com/)
Recurrent droughts that occurred in the days of Maya, when reconstructed, also found in some of the predictions in the future in the same area as a result of climate change. 

"The warning is clear. Lack of water in a small scale, if persistent, can lead to acute problems and long-term impact," said Martin Medina-Elizalde, other researchers. 

He said the unique phenomenon is not just happening on the Yucatan Peninsula but also can occur in all areas that have high evaporation rates. *** [SOTON | MAHARDIKA SATRIA HADI | KORAN TEMPO 3807]
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