A Recent Study Has Confirmed That The Collapse Of The Maya Civilization Can Be Traced Back To Drought, Serving As A Cautionary Tale About Climate Change

lunamarina - - illustrative purposes only

For thousands of years, the Maya Empire flourished in the region now known as Guatemala. As a civilization, they are recognized for their achievements in agriculture, architecture, pottery, writing, calendar systems, and mathematics.

They peaked in the sixth century C.E., but by 900 C.E., the empire had fallen, and most of their cities were abandoned.

Many scholars have tried to figure out what caused the collapse of the once-thriving civilization, suggesting a number of theories like overpopulation, warfare, drought, or shifting trade routes. However, evidence for these theories has always been inconclusive.

Recently, a new study confirmed that the end of the Maya civilization can be traced back to drought. To reach this conclusion, researchers examined oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in sediment from Lake Chichancanab on the Yucatan Peninsula.

The lake was located near the heart of the Maya civilization, so it was able to provide an accurate sample of the climate conditions at the time.

A research student from Cambridge University and co-author of the study named Nicholas Evans analyzed the isotopic composition of water in the sediment from the lake to measure how much the rainfall levels declined during the end of the Maya civilization.

Evans and his team of researchers determined that annual rainfall levels in the area surrounding the lake dropped 41 to 54 percent over a period of roughly 400 years.

Additionally, humidity levels declined by two to seven percent. The combination of these two factors caused the civilization’s agricultural production to suffer.

Since the dry weather conditions persisted over hundreds of years, they could not generate enough food, ultimately leading to their downfall.

lunamarina – – illustrative purposes only

Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered to your inbox.

1 of 2