Two millennia of tropical cyclone-induced mud layers in a northern Yucatán stalagmite : multiple overlapping climatic hazards during the Maya Terminal Classic “megadroughts”
Frappier, Amy Benoit
Pinkey-Drobnis, Aurora D.
Corbett, D. Reide
Dahlin, Bruce H.
Date of Issue2014
An annually laminated stalagmite from the northern Yucatán Peninsula contains mud layers from 256 cave flooding events over 2240 years. This new conservative proxy for paleotempestology recorded cave flooding events with a recurrence interval of 8.3 years during the twentieth century, with the greatest frequency during the twentieth century and the least frequent during the seventeenth century. Tropical cyclone (TC) events are unlikely to flood the cave during drought when the water table is depressed. Applying TC masking to the Chaac paleorainfall reconstruction suggests that the severity of the Maya “megadroughts” was underestimated. Without a high-resolution radiometric geochronology of individual local TC events, speleothem isotope records cannot resolve whether the Terminal Classic Period in the northern Maya Lowlands was punctuated by several brief drought breaks with normal TCs, or whether the region was very dry and peppered by unusually severe and frequent hurricane seasons.
Geophysical research letters
© 2014 American Geophysical Union. This paper was published in Geophysical Research Letters and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of American Geophysical Union. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2014GL059882. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.