Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Topic Options
#268704 - 02/21/08 01:27 PM Satellites spot lost Guatemala Mayan temples
Marty Online   happy

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) 2/20/2008 - Ancient Mayan astronomers aligned their soaring temples with the stars and now modern archeologists have found the ruins of hidden cities in the Guatemalan jungle by peering down from space.

Archeologists and NASA scientists began teaming up five years ago to search for clues about the mysterious collapse of the Mayan civilization that flourished in Central America and southern Mexico for 1,000 years.

The work is paying off, says archeologist William Saturno, who recently discovered five sprawling sites with hundreds of buildings using a spy satellite that can see through clouds and forest to reveal differences in the vegetation below.

Saturno said the satellite images made it infinitely easier to find ruins covered for centuries by dense jungle vines and trees. "It was like shooting fish in a barrel," he said.

Saturno first sought out satellite images to find a source of water near his excavation camp at San Bartolo, which lies 32 miles from the nearest town on inaccessible roads deep in Guatemala's northern Peten region.

NASA gave him a snapshot of solar radiation reflected off the wide variety of plants in the region. Saturno was surprised to see a pattern of discoloration in the satellite image that outlined some of the buildings he had already uncovered.

Using a GPS device, he pinpointed on a map the location of other discolorations nearby and discovered several areas with hidden Mayan architecture.

The Maya built with limestone and lime plasters. As the abandoned buildings disintegrate, chemicals from the stones seep into the soil, keeping some plants from growing around the structures and affecting the chemistry of those that do grow.

The satellite can spot these differences and the result is a virtual road map of the buried structures from nearly 400 miles above Earth's surface.


Saturno said he expects more discoveries like his 2001 find of an elaborate mural from around 100 B.C. depicting the Mayan creation myth, dubbed the Sistine Chapel of the Mayan world.

His research partner at NASA, Tom Sever, hopes the satellite images could provide clues as to why the Mayan civilization collapsed around 900 A.D.

"What we are investigating is the choices the Maya made that ultimately created a catastrophic situation for them," Sever said by telephone from a NASA base in the U.S. state of Alabama.

To support a population boom the Maya felled huge swathes of jungle for agriculture. They collected water in giant reservoirs called "bajos" to farm during seasonal dry spells, but the deforestation raised temperatures and reduced rainfall, drying up water sources, Sever said.

Bajos were found at around half the new sites located by the satellite, potentially boosting this theory of why the Maya had to leave their cities.

Information about the fate of the Maya could help modern societies make better choices and "avoid the sometimes disastrous mistakes of the past," said Sever. "We are in a race against time to preserve our history."

(By Brendan Kolbay, Writing by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Catherine Bremer and David Wiessler)

#268709 - 02/21/08 01:41 PM Re: Satellites spot lost Guatemala Mayan temples [Re: Marty]
sweetjane Offline
i love reading stuff like this (bf too!). thanks, marty.


Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker

TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lilí Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
Who's Online
2 registered (JeannaB, Marty), 46 Guests and 9 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,631 Registered Members
44 Forums
63,686 Topics
461,186 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 02:16 PM

AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.