Human and Natural Impacts on Fluvial and Karst Depressions of the Maya Lowlands

Journal article


Beach, Timothy, Luzzadder-Beach, Sheryl, Dunning, Nicholas and Cook, Duncan Edward. (2008). Human and Natural Impacts on Fluvial and Karst Depressions of the Maya Lowlands. Geomorphology.
AuthorsBeach, Timothy, Luzzadder-Beach, Sheryl, Dunning, Nicholas and Cook, Duncan Edward
Abstract

This paper begins to differentiate the major drivers and chronology of erosion and aggradation in the fluvial and fluviokarst landscapes of the southern and central Maya Lowlands. We synthesize past research on erosion and aggradation and add new data from water, soils, radiocarbon dating, and archaeology to study the quantity, timing, and causes of aggradation in regional landscape depressions. Geomorphic findings come from many excavations across a landscape gradient from upland valleys, karst sinks, and fans into the coastal plain floodplains and depressions. Findings from water chemistry show that sources in the uplands have low quantities of dissolved ions but water in the coastal plains has high amounts of dissolved ions, often nearly saturated in calcium and sulfate. We found significant geomorphic complexity in the general trends in upland karst sinks. In a few instances, sediments preserve Late Pleistocene paleosols, buried 2–3 m, though many more have distinct middle to late Holocene paleosols, buried 1–2 m, after c. 2300 BP (Maya Early to Late Preclassic). From 2300–1100 BP (Late Preclassic to Classic Periods), the landscape aggraded from five main mechanisms: river flooding, climatic instability, accelerated erosion, ancient Maya landscape manipulation, and gypsum precipitation from a rise in a water table nearly saturated in calcium and sulfate ions. Evidence exists for two or three high magnitude floods, possibly driven by hurricanes. Moreover, lake-core and geophysical studies from the Petén Lakes region have shown high rates of deposition of silicate clays (‘Maya Clays’) starting and peaking during the Maya Preclassic and continuing to be high through the Late Classic. The main driver on upland karst depressions, the Petén lakes, upland valleys, and fans was accelerated soil erosion, but water table rise, probably driven by sea-level rise, was the main driver on the wetlands of the coastal plain because the aggraded sediments here are dominantly composed of gypsum, precipitated from the groundwater. This latter mechanism represents a little recognized mechanism of aggradation over a large region. These large scale environmental changes occurred during periods of intensive ancient Maya land use and climatic instability, both of which may have contributed to erosion by increasing runoff. Despite these geomorphic changes, ancient Maya farmers adapted in several key cases.

KeywordsErosion; Aggradation; Maya Lowlands; Fluvial; Karst; Soils
Year2008
JournalGeomorphology
PublisherElsevier Science
Page range308 - 331
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Place of publicationThe Netherlands
Permalink -

https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/8q4v0/human-and-natural-impacts-on-fluvial-and-karst-depressions-of-the-maya-lowlands

  • 20
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month
These values are for the period from 19th October 2020, when this repository was created.

Export as

Related outputs

Tropical wetland persistence through the Anthropocene : Multiproxy reconstruction of environmental change in a Maya agroecosystem
Krause, Samantha, Beach, Timothy P., Luzzadder-Beach, Sheryl, Cook, Duncan, Bozarth, Steven R., Valdez Jr, Fred and Guderjan, Thomas H.. (2021). Tropical wetland persistence through the Anthropocene : Multiproxy reconstruction of environmental change in a Maya agroecosystem. Anthropocene. 34, p. Article 100284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2021.100284
Anthropogenic environmental change on the frontiers of European colonisation in Australia, A.D. 1788–1840. A reply to comments in Woodward (2020)
Cook, Duncan E.. (2021). Anthropogenic environmental change on the frontiers of European colonisation in Australia, A.D. 1788–1840. A reply to comments in Woodward (2020). Geomorphology. 373, p. Article 107234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2020.107234
Identificando entradas de cuevas en un paisaje kárstico forestal utilizando elevaciones del LiDAR : Resultados preliminares de EL Zotz, Guatemala
Cook, Duncan, Garrison, Thomas G., Donn, Leila and Baldwin, Dennis. (2019). Identificando entradas de cuevas en un paisaje kárstico forestal utilizando elevaciones del LiDAR : Resultados preliminares de EL Zotz, Guatemala Spain: Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Government of Guatemala.
Wetland geomorphology and paleoecology near Akab Muclil, Rio Bravo floodplain of the Belize coastal plain
Krause, Samantha, Beach, Timothy, Luzzadder-Beach, Sheryl, Cook, Duncan, Islebe, Gerald, Palacios-Fest, Manuel R., Eshleman, Sara, Doyle, Colin and Guderjan, Thomas H.. (2019). Wetland geomorphology and paleoecology near Akab Muclil, Rio Bravo floodplain of the Belize coastal plain. Geomorphology. 331, pp. 146-159. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.10.015
Butzer ‘Down Under’ : Debates on anthropogenic erosion in early Colonial Australia
Cook, Duncan. (2019). Butzer ‘Down Under’ : Debates on anthropogenic erosion in early Colonial Australia. Geomorphology. 331, pp. 160-174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.12.011
Geoarchaeology and tropical forest soil catenas of northwestern Belize
Beach, Timothy, Ulmer, Austin, Cook, Duncan, Brennan, Michael L., Luzzadder-Beach, Sheryl, Doyle, Colin, Eshleman, Sara, Krause, Samantha, Cortes-Rincon, Marisol and Terry, Richard. (2018). Geoarchaeology and tropical forest soil catenas of northwestern Belize. Quaternary International. 463, pp. 198 - 217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.02.031
Stability and instability on Maya lowlands tropical hillslope soils
Beach, Timothy, Luzzadder-Beach, Sheryl and Cook, Duncan. (2018). Stability and instability on Maya lowlands tropical hillslope soils. Geomorphology. 305, pp. 185 - 208. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.07.027
Radiocarbon dating of a young speleothem record of paleoclimate for Angkor, Cambodia
Hua, Quan, Cook, Duncan, Fohlmeister, Jens, Penny, Dan, Bishop, Paul and Buckman, Soloman. (2017). Radiocarbon dating of a young speleothem record of paleoclimate for Angkor, Cambodia. 8th Radiocarbon and Archaeology Symposium. Edinburgh, United Kingdom 27 Jun - 01 Jul 2016 Cambridge University Press. pp. 1873-1890 https://doi.org/10.1017/RDC.2017.115
Lime burning in clamp kilns in Scotland's western central belt: primitive industry or simple but perfectly adequate technology?
Bishop, Paul, Cuenca-Garcia, Carmen, Jones, Richard and Cook, Duncan. (2017). Lime burning in clamp kilns in Scotland's western central belt: primitive industry or simple but perfectly adequate technology? Industrial Archaeology Review. 39(1), pp. 38 - 58. https://doi.org/10.1080/03090728.2017.1292642
Soil and slaughter: a geoarchaeological record of the Ancient Maya from Cancuén, Guatemala
Cook, Duncan, Beach, Timothy and Demarest, A. A.. (2017). Soil and slaughter: a geoarchaeological record of the Ancient Maya from Cancuén, Guatemala. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 15, pp. 330 - 343. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.08.005
Ancient Maya impacts on the Earth's surface : An Early Anthropocene analog?
Beach, Timothy, Luzzadder-Beach, Sheryl, Cook, Duncan, Dunning, Nicholas, Kennett, Douglas, Krause, Samantha, Terry, Richard, Trein, Debora and Valdez, Fred. (2015). Ancient Maya impacts on the Earth's surface : An Early Anthropocene analog? Quaternary Science Reviews: the international multidisciplinary research and review journal. 124, pp. 1 - 30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.05.028
A small unmanned aerial system (UAS) for coastal atmospheric research : preliminary results from New Zealand
Cook, Duncan, Strong, Phil, Garrett, Sally and Marshall, Rob. (2013). A small unmanned aerial system (UAS) for coastal atmospheric research : preliminary results from New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.1080/03036758.2012.695280
The eastern Australian magnetic inclination record : Dating the recent past and re-assessing the historical geomagnetic archive
Gale, Stephen, Cook, Duncan and Dorrington, N. (2013). The eastern Australian magnetic inclination record : Dating the recent past and re-assessing the historical geomagnetic archive. Holocene. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959683612463094
Somali piracy and the monsoon
Cook, Duncan and Garrett, Sally. (2013). Somali piracy and the monsoon. Weather, Climate and Society. https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-13-00001.1
The Seabreeze 2009 experiment: investigating the impack of ocean and atmospheric processes on radar performance in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Garrett, Sally, Cook, Duncan and Marshall, Rob. (2011). The Seabreeze 2009 experiment: investigating the impack of ocean and atmospheric processes on radar performance in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Weather and Climate. 31, pp. 81 - 99.
The graduated recovery intervention program for first episode psychosis: Treatment development and preliminary data
Waldheter, E., Penn, David, Perkins, D. O., Mueser, Kim T., Owens, L W. and Cook, E. (2008). The graduated recovery intervention program for first episode psychosis: Treatment development and preliminary data. Community Mental Health Journal. 44(6), pp. 443 - 455. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-008-9147-6
The 210Pb chronology of deposition in Tocal Homestead Lagoon, eastern Australia
Gale, Stephen and Cook, Duncan. (2006). The 210Pb chronology of deposition in Tocal Homestead Lagoon, eastern Australia. Quaternary Newsletter.
The curious case of the date of introduction of leaded fuel to Australia: implications for the history of Southern Hemisphere atmospheric lead pollution
Cook, Duncan and Gale, Stephen. (2005). The curious case of the date of introduction of leaded fuel to Australia: implications for the history of Southern Hemisphere atmospheric lead pollution. Atmospheric Environment. 39(14), pp. 2553 - 2557. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2005.01.009