Climate and Societies
Professor of Climate Geology, ETH Zurich
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
4:00 – 5:00 P.M. Slichter Hall, room 2853
Gerald Haug has done extensive research on the role of climate change in the collapse of Mayan Society. In the 9th century, the Maya peoples gradually abandoned their urban centres in the Yukatan central region. Their water-collection system fell into ruin and from the middle of the 9th century onwards this great civilisation collapsed entirely. How this came about has long remained a mystery. With a sediment core extracted from the ocean floor off the Venezuelan coast, Gerald Haug and his colleagues have revealed that multi-year droughts occurred during this period. This work indicates that the abrupt fall of the Maya civilisation was linked to the migration of the tropical rainfall belt.