(Article of periodic en Anglais - 2009)

Document title

Arising from the wetlands : mechanisms and chronology of landscape aggradation in the northern coastal plain of Belize

Authors(s) and Affiliation(s)

(1) Dep. of Geography and GeoInformation Science, George Mason Univ., ETATS-UNIS
(2) Science, Technology, and International Affairs, School of Foreign Service, Univ., Georgetown, ETATS-UNIS


This study uses water, soils, radiocarbon, and archaeological data to determine the quantity, timing, and causes of aggradation in Belize's Three Rivers region in a series of sinks from the karst uplands into the coastal plain. Water sources in the uplands have low quantities of dissolved ions including sulfate, but water in the coastal plain has high amounts of dissolved ions and is nearly saturated in sulfate and calcium. Soil and geomorphic findings come from 22 excavations. Soil erosion is the main driver of the clastic sedimentation on upland valleys and fans, but water table rise is the main driver on the wetlands of the coastal plain because the aggraded sediments here are dominantly composed of gypsum, in which the groundwater is saturated. This study show that the ancient Maya confronted more natural hazards in the Classic period than just the well-known droughts of the eighth through tenth centuries AD, and in this case the Maya adapted to an environmental change so large that they had to adjust their land use strategies from well-drained to perennial wetland conditions


Article of periodic

published at : Annals of the Association of American Geographers / ISSN 0004-5608 / CODEN AAAGAK

Editor : Association of American Geographers, Washington, DC - ETATS-UNIS (1911)

Millesime : 2009, vol. 99, no1 [pp. 1-26]

Bibliographic references : 3 p.

Collation : 10 fig., 7 tabl.




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