facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Tree rings give clues to ancient droughts

Feb. 3, 2011 at 10:08 PM   |   Comments

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A study of tree rings in Mexico may give clues to the role major droughts played in the fates of long-gone ancient civilizations, U.S. researchers say.

Scientists at the University of Arkansas say their 1,238-year-long tree-ring chronology -- the longest and most accurate of its kind for Mexico and Central America -- is the first to reconstruct the climate of pre-colonial Mexico on an annual basis for more than a millennium, pinning down four ancient megadroughts to their exact years, an American Geophysical Union release reported Thursday.

One large ancient drought previously confirmed in the U.S. Southwest between 1149 and 1167 is shown to have extended into central Mexico, where it may have devastated maize crops, potentially giving a fatal blow to the declining Toltec culture, David Stahle, a UA paleoclimatologist, says.

The rainfall chronology provides confirmation of the so-called Terminal Classic drought that some anthropologists tie to the collapse of the Mayan civilization.

"Certainly these cultural changes were very complicated -- probably not one single explanation can account for the collapse of the Mayan civilization," Stahle says. "[But] our study will allow other scientists to more thoroughly investigate and understand the impact of these droughts."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Next week's lunar eclipse may feature the color turquoise Next week's lunar eclipse may feature the color turquoise
2
Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus
3
"Man in the moon" likely caused by volcano, not astroid "Man in the moon" likely caused by volcano, not astroid
4
Lamborghini reveals Asterion LPI-910, hybrid supercar that hits 199 mph and gets 57 mpg Lamborghini reveals Asterion LPI-910, hybrid supercar that hits 199 mph and gets 57 mpg
5
Mirror turtle ants thrive by going undercover Mirror turtle ants thrive by going undercover
Trending News
x
Feedback