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Paleo Slide Set: Climate and the Classic Maya Civilization
Interpretation of how changes in the lake sediment record detail climate change
This illustration shows the simple working assumptions for interpreting changes in the sediment record in terms of climate (evaporation/precipitation). Top: Under conditions of wet climate (low E/P), we expect high lake levels, dilute concentrations of solutes, low 18O to 16Oratios in lake water and aquatic shells, and sediments consisting of mainly organic carbon and calcite. Middle: Under conditions of drier climate (moderate E/P), we expect lower lake levels, higher concentrations of dissolved solutes, higher ratios of 18O and 16O, and perhaps sediments dominated by calcite. Bottom: Under arid climate conditions (high E/P), we expect low lake levels (perhaps desiccation), high dissolved solute concentrations, high ratios of 18O and 16O and, in the case of Lake Chichancanab, sediments dominated by gypsum (CaSO4).

Photo Credits:
Patty Catanzaro
Department of Geology, University of Florida
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Last Modified: 12 October 2001

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