Quantification of drought during the collapse of the classic Maya civilization

Evans, Nicholas P. and Bauska, T. K. and Gázquez, Fernando and Brenner, Mark and Curtis, Jason H. and Hodell, David A. (2018) Quantification of drought during the collapse of the classic Maya civilization. Science 3, 361 (6401). pp. 498-501. ISSN 0036-8075 (print), 1095-9203 (online) DOI https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aas9871

NPE Science 01_07_2018.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (17MB) | Preview
NPE Science 01_07_2018 SM.pdf - Supplemental Material

Download (15MB) | Preview
[img] Text
498.full.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (805kB) | Request a copy
Official URL: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6401/498


The demise of Lowland Classic Maya civilization during the Terminal Classic Period (~800 to 1000 CE) is a well-cited example of how past climate may have affected ancient societies. Attempts to estimate the magnitude of hydrologic change, however, have met with equivocal success because of the qualitative and indirect nature of available climate proxy data. We reconstructed the past isotopic composition (δ18O, δD, 17O-excess, and d-excess) of water in Lake Chichancanab, Mexico, using a technique that involves isotopic analysis of the structurally bound water in sedimentary gypsum, which was deposited under drought conditions. The triple oxygen and hydrogen isotope data provide a direct measure of past changes in lake hydrology. We modeled the data and conclude that annual precipitation decreased between 41 and 54% (with intervals of up to 70% rainfall reduction during peak drought conditions) and that relative humidity declined by 2 to 7% compared to present-day conditions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2018AREP; IA72
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
08 - Green Open Access
12 - PhD
Journal or Publication Title: Science 3
Volume: 361
Page Range: pp. 498-501
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aas9871
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2018 16:53
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2019 12:57
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/4309

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

About cookies