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Volcanic ash dating
If this eruption was the major event that lofted sulfur particles halfway across the world, it would not have only caused harsher winters (as seen from tree ring records), but also regional droughts.
This is what Payson Sheets, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado Boulder who was not involved in the study, thinks interrupted Maya civilization.
Some have speculated an earthquake or hurricane struck the area. An early hint that an ancient volcanic eruption might be the culprit came far from the Maya lowlands, in Greenland and Antarctica.
A volcano can send a large amount of sulfur particles rocketing into the stratosphere, where they can easily spread across the globe. Sigl encountered Kees Nooren, a Ph D student from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, when the two were presenting side-by-side research posters at a conference.
Once they reach the area over the poles they fasten to snow crystals and eventually become trapped in the ice sheets below, leaving a precise record for scientists to uncover centuries later. Nooren had been studying lake sediments in a delta just west of the Términos Lagoon along the Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan Peninsula, when he unearthed a few shiny layers of volcanic ash. So when Nooren saw the sulfur spike at 540 on Sigl’s poster, he turned to him and said: “Hey, I might have a candidate for that.” The resulting study clearly shows El Chichón erupted around the same time that sulfur particles got into the ice sheets, and that the Maya “dark age” began.
That is how Michael Sigl, a chemist from the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, deduced that a massive eruption must have happened somewhere in the world in A. 540—right at the start of the mysterious Maya “dark age.” Tree ring records indicate that sunlight-reflecting sulfur particles high in the atmosphere caused the global temperature to plummet by 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius at the same time. He analyzed individual shards of volcanic glass in the sediment and traced them back to El Chichón, then used carbon dating to pin the layers to A. Still, scientists disagree on what the eruption’s exact effect on the Maya might have been.
The visitor may seldom travel more then a few miles without encountering some wonderful reminders of Cappadocia's colorful past.
In recent times, Cappadocia became famous for its unique landscape of valleys and unusual rock formations, known as "fairy chimneys".
For more than 100 years the Maya inexplicably halted construction projects, seemingly deserted some areas and engaged in warfare.
And in the 75 years since the discovery archaeologists have failed to find an explanation—although they have come up with a lot of hypotheses.
There are parts of the Earth which do not seem really belong to; Cappadocia is one of them, a strange and spectacular landscape from the pages of science fiction. The name “Cappadocia” dates back to Persian times, when the region was called as “katpatukya” meaning “Land of Beautiful Horses”.
It is an extraordinary region, unmatched in the world. Since that time Cappadocia has seen the rise and fall of many different civilizations.