Great Blue Hole: Scientists know quite a few things about the Mayan diaries and writing system but also about their ritual sacrifices. The great mystery, however, remains: What exactly caused the decline of their culture around 900 AD? ;
Now a group of researchers from Rice University and Louisiana State University are one step closer to solving the mystery thanks to "Big Blue Hole" (Great Blue Hole). The famous Blue Hole, located in the Caribbean off the coast of Belize, became popular with the documentaries by Jacques Cousteau who visited 1971 and said it was one of the best diving sites in the world.
The researchers analyzed sediment samples from the Blue Hole, looking for variations in color, grain size, and sediment thickness. They also looked at samples from the Lagoon in Belize, a water body linked to the mainland, looking at the differences in titanium and aluminum ratios, which helps calculate the rainfall levels.
The analyzes showed low levels of rainfall and a decrease in the frequency of tropical cyclones from 800 to 900 AD. in the Yucatan Peninsula - suggesting the area was hit by a severe drought at the time, researchers told the Huffington Post exclusively.
The survey also showed that another major drought hit the area between 1000 and 1100 AD. , about the time that the Maya city, Chichen Itza, is estimated to have fallen.
"When you have severe droughts, you will begin to have hunger and unrest," said one of the authors of the study, André Droxler from Rice University.
Research is based on previous studies that have already suggested climate change as one of the reasons for the decline of Mayan culture. A study of 2012 on a stalagmite from a cave in Belize linked the Mayan disappearance with a great drought between 600 and 1000 AD.
The first settlements of Maya were founded in 1800 BC. The culture hit at its peak about 250 AD, reaching a population of about 2.000.000.