Evidence of a Tsunami in the Yucatan Peninsula

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Experts believe it could have happened around 1000 years ago

The beautiful, fine, white, sandy beaches of the Yucatan peninsula are awe-inspiring places with unique features. Their crystal-clear turquoise waters and their ideal year-round climate make them some of the most preferred tourism destinations for visitors from all over the world.

Tsunami


But one fine day in the past, conditions may not have been so hospitable...
Recently, researchers from Mexico’s Akumal Ecology Center (CEA), in collaboration with the University of Colorado in Boulder, found possible evidence of a tsunami that would have stricken the white coasts of the Yucatan peninsula approximately a thousand years ago.


This hypothesis is based on the discovery of a trail of berm – that is, a natural, raised barrier separating two areas – with the shape of the coastline, including Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cancún.


The experts found coral and fine grain limestone covering the berm. These materials can be found at the bottom of the sea in coral reefs. A colossal degree of energy would be have been required in order to extract such a large amount of minerals and place them so far inland onto the surface.

Tsunami in the Yucatan Peninsula


Theoretically, the tsunami would have generated waves 15 feet or higher, making for a devastating natural phenomenon in ancient times, back when the ancient Maya civilization was at its maximum splendor.


Larry Benson, an anthropologist at the Natural History Museum of the University of Colorado, added that the tsunami could have been caused by different kinds of events ranging from an earthquake, to an underwater landslide to volcanic eruptions or even a meteorite striking the ocean.


The experts added that tsunamis are not frequent events in this area, as only 37 have been registered in the Caribbean basin since 1492.

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