On Friday, Dec. 21, some say, the Mayan apocalypse will arrive and the world will end. Fortunately, it won’t.
A bold claim, we know, but if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us. The space agency has already issued a press release dated Dec. 22 entitled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.”
The Mayan apocalypse predictions arise from a misunderstanding of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, which wraps up a 400-year cycle called a b’ak’tun on Dec. 21, 2012, the day of the winter solstice. This just so happens to be the 13th b’ak’tun in the calendar, a benchmark the Maya would have seen as a full cycle of creation.
Did you catch that? Cycle. In other words, the Maya had a cyclical view of time and would not have seen the end of their calendar cycle as the end of the world. It wasn’t until Westerners began reinterpreting the calendar in the past couple decades that it got its apocalyptic overtones.
Mayan apocalypse rumors have proliferated on the Internet, running the gamut from beliefs that Dec. 21 will bring a new era of peace and universal understanding to predictions of a devastating astronomical event. We’re all in favor of world peace, but we’re here to put your fears to rest about the likelihood of planetary annihilation. Read on for five common Mayan apocalypse fears and why they won’t come true.
One of the world’s great civilisations was forced into terminal decline by successive dry periods culminating in a prolonged drought, according to a study that throws fresh light on the mysterious disappearance of the Maya in Central America around 1,100AD.
Scholars have long wondered about the circumstances that led to the relatively abrupt end of the Maya civilisation which had existed for about 2,000 years and grew to support a population of up to 13 million people at the height of its “classic” period.
Some of the theories about the collapse of Maya society included civil wars or famine brought on by environmental degradation, but the latest study suggests that the underlying reason may have been a lack of rain resulting from regional climate change.
Scientists who have analysed the chemical makeup of limestone columns or stalagmites that formed over 2,000 years on the floor of Yok Balum Cave in southern Belize said the region experienced periods of abundant rainfall and then prolonged drought, which correspond to the rise and fall of Maya society.