The Possible Causes for the Disappearance of the Ancient Mayan Civilization

Essay by tada_yanceyHigh School, 11th gradeA, August 2004

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During A.D. 300 and 900 mayans flourished through much of Central America and in Yacatan in Southeren Mexico. It is said that there could be many reasons for the dissappearance, or the decline of the Ancient Mayan Civiliztion. There are many theories about the mayan civilization that some think was due to lack of food, frequent warfare, and over population. The decline started around A.D. 900, the Mayas left thier stone palaces and abandond their cities. That soon was barred by the jungle but the so called "lost city" was not rediscovered until modern times. No one really knows why or how the Mayas declined or left their city. However the loss, the Mayan culture has survived still to today, and with many people in Guatemala and southern Mexico descendents they speak the Mayan languages.

Lake Chichancanab's in Mexico, meaning "Little sea" has helped us to understand a bit about the environment in the region where the Mayans lived.

David Hodell, Mark Brenner and Jason Curtis took core samples from Lake Chichancanab. The data from the core samples indicated significant meteorological changes during the same time that the Maya's life took a dramatic turn for the worse.

Lake Chichancanab gets it's name the "Little Sea" from its saltiness, which is saturated with gypsum. So when the lake water evaporates during dry periods the gypsum settles to the lakes bottom, memorializing that drought in the sediments. Having this record of gypsum helped the Land Use and Enviromental Change Institute, determine how far appart these droughts were.

The geoloists of the University of Florida needed the climate conditions around Lake Chichancanab to help answer their questions about the Mayas decline. The May 2000 expedition to Chichancanab. was the second team that made it to the region. The 1993 samples helped the...