One of the big mysteries that always intrigued me was what really led to the demise of the Mayan civilization. Over the years, there've been many theories on what led to the demise of the Mayans. A new theory claims that global warming led to a drought, which ended the civilization. According to a recently released study, there are indications of the Mayan people had problems with droughts in the years leading up to the decline of the society.
The team of scientists behind the study say that there are other contributing factors, but a mild drought appears to have been the tipping point that led the end. The drought is thought to have placed pressure on major, vital crops the civilization required. The team of scientists came upon the theory that a drought led to the decline of the civilization after examining lake and cave sediment in areas surrounding major Mayan cities. Using the data collected, they were able determine the amount of annual rainfall in the region. According to the readings, the 40% decline in annual precipitation would have forced hardships upon the cities.
The drop in precipitation will reportedly resulted in fewer tropical storms and heavy rainfalls that are needed water the crops the Mayans lived on. With less rain water, sources for drinking and crops would've been scarce, likely leading to warfare and civil unrest. This is the first study to have been able to determine exact rainfall in the region during 800 to 950 A.D., which is when the civilization began to decline.
[via The State Column]