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The Chicxulub impact and its different hydrogeological effects on Prehispanic and Colonial settlement in the Yucatan peninsula

Journal article
Authors Johan Normark
Published in WIREs Water
Volume 3
Issue 6
Pages 871-884
ISSN 2049-1948
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Historical Studies
Pages 871-884
Language en
Keywords Hydrology, Maya, Archaeology, Water, Settlement
Subject categories Climate Research, Hydrology, Water in nature and society, Archaeology, Non-European


The Chicxulub impact ~66 million years ago and subsequent geological processes have created different hydrogeological regimes in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. These regimes have affected settlement patterns on local and regional scales. This study focuses on the intersection between three of these regimes; the Buried Ejecta within Saline Intrusion Zone, the Albion Formation, and the Ticul Fault Zone. Lake Chichancanab is located in the intersection between these zones. The Prehispanic settlement east of Chichancanab, in the Cochuah region, is distributed evenly whereas the Colonial period settlement of the same area largely stays within the Buried Ejecta within Saline Intrusion Zone. Colonial socioeconomic conditions and the Church limited the Spanish control of the Cochuah region, partially because groundwater access became increasingly more important during the Colonial period.

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