Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change Following Collapse Of The Maya Empire

Date:
January 25, 2002
Source:
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research
Summary:
Researchers from the University of Amsterdam have demonstrated that the climate in South Mexico changed following the collapse of the Maya empire. From preserved pollen grains the paleoecologists could deduce that the climate quickly became dryer.

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam have demonstrated that the climate in South Mexico changed following the collapse of the Maya empire. From preserved pollen grains the paleoecologists could deduce that the climate quickly became dryer.

The climate becoming dryer, explains the decrease in the population following the collapse of the Maya empire. The climate researchers have therefore helped to solve an archaeological mystery.

With the help of pollen grains, the paleoecologists from Amsterdam could accurately reconstruct the climate in a certain region. Each plant will only grow under certain conditions. By working out the overlap between the possible growth conditions for each plant in an area, an accurate picture of the local climate can be constructed.

In the area inhabited by the Mayas, Southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala, the researchers found that round about 1000 AD the climate quickly became dryer. This was about 100 years after the collapse of the Maya empire. The researchers suspect that after the collapse of the well-organised empire, the inhabitants destroyed many wildlife and agricultural areas. This led to erosion, as a result of which the evaporation, and thus the rainfall, decreased. The pollen grains also provided information about farming in the distant past. In Peru the paleoecologists could reconstruct how the cultivation of maize and grain crops spread over various population groups. Certain population groups who lived as hunters and gatherers when the Spaniards arrived, were revealed to have a rich agricultural past.

The pollen research in South and Central America has also provided data that are important for current climate research. In an elevated area in Colombia, pollen grains were found from the last three million years. The paleoecologists examined which plants grew at various carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere over the past 450,000 years. The carbon dioxide concentration in the air for this period is known, thanks to the discovery of frozen air bubbles in ice at the South Pole. The comparison revealed that in the past, plant growth was strongly correlated with carbon dioxide concentrations. The analyses revealed that not only the temperature changed but also the precipitation and the season in which this fell.

Dr Marchant has written four articles that will shortly be published in scientific journals. The research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "Climate Change Following Collapse Of The Maya Empire." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020125074106.htm>.
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. (2002, January 25). Climate Change Following Collapse Of The Maya Empire. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020125074106.htm
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "Climate Change Following Collapse Of The Maya Empire." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020125074106.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins