Even though the ancient Maya civilization was very advanced in every scientific field, it still fell apart about 1,000 years ago. Scientists have considered many reasons for this historic collapse, but none of them wasn’t certain. Maybe, however, until today.
Applying modern methods, scientists managed to confirm their theory of collapse. They further presented specific numbers of how much dry the climate came to be at the time.
Lake Chichancanab on the Yucatán Peninsula was located near the center of the popular Maya civilization in order to serve as a climate indicator.
In the middle 90s, scientists detected variations in the balance of heavy to light oxygen isotopes in shells dropped on the lake’s floor. This was a sign that the last years of the Maya civilization were very dry.
At the time, scientists didn’t have the proper devices to measure how dry the period was before and after it. In other words, whether it was so dry it managed to destroy a whole civilization.
However, according to a recent paper in Science, Central America’s environmental conditions did change with drastic steps.
Cambridge University student Nicholas Evans measured oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in water molecules from gypsum sediments of the lake floor.
He and his crew realized there was a drop of between 41 and 54 percent in yearly rainfall within the lake range in a period of over 400 years.
Moreover, humidity declined between 2 and 7 percent. Although this number doesn’t sound dramatic, it still had a serious impact on drying.
The evaporation, on the other hand, had a severe effect on the agricultural products. Rainfalls were also probably down by 70 percent.
No society would have had the food supplies to survive such an event, including the Maya civilization.
The whole Maya society didn’t die with the end of the Late Classic Period. However, a large number of people did die along with the technology which greatly degraded.