Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate change following collapse of the Maya empire

30.01.2002


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.

Michel Philippens | alphagalileo

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core
24.05.2018 | University of Washington

nachricht Tropical Peat Swamps: Restoration of Endangered Carbon Reservoirs
24.05.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>