A new study published suggests that the ancient Mayan civilization may well have fallen prey to a century long drought.
The research done primarily focusses on the extensive analysis of minerals excavated from the Great Blue Hole, which is a famous under water cave off the coast of Belize, an ancient Mayan ancestor country located in Central America. Researchers also studied minerals from nearby lagoons. These minerals indicated that an extreme drought occurred during the whole part of the ninth century, which is also the same time that saw the initial collapse of the Mayan civilization. It can be speculated that the century laden severe drought could have been one of the primary reasons for the fall of one of the great Central American civilizations.
Researchers also found that those who might have survived the century long drought may well have moved up north, where the phrase “Winter is Coming” kicks in. But, they weren’t affected by winter though, researchers say another drought occurred in that region which may have put the great Mayan civilization to an end.
An Earth scientist from Rice University, André Droxler and a co-author from the study said that their team drilled cores from the sediments located in the Blue Hole of the Lighthouse Lagoon and Rhomboid Reef. The lagoon is totally surrounded by thick walls of coral reef, keeping surrounding water out in periods of drought. During storms or times of excessive precipitation, all of the nearby rivers and streams would flow over the top of these walls thereby, depositing the unique sediments from their riverbeds in the lagoon. Over time these layers pile up and create a chronological record of the climate.
From here it was easy to understand what happened next. The team analyzed the chemical composition of the sediment cores. They paid quite an attention to the ratio of Titanium to Aluminum because lower ratio of titanium to aluminum is a strong indication of a period of less rainfall or drought.
While there have been previous studies related to droughts and the fall of the Mayan civilization, but this study reaffirms the very notion that a century long dry spell led to the collapse of the mighty Mayans.