Dr. Luzzadder-beach is an associate professor of geography at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 22030–4444.
WATER RESOURCES OF THE CHUNCHUCMIL MAYA*
Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
2000 American Geographical Society
Volume 90, Issue 4, pages 493–510, October 2000
How to Cite
Luzzadder-Beach, S. (2000), WATER RESOURCES OF THE CHUNCHUCMIL MAYA. Geographical Review, 90: 493–510. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2000.tb00351.x
Funding, equipment, and facilities for this ongoing investigation have been provided in part by George Mason University, Georgetown University, Howard University, the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, and the Anne U. White Fund of the Association of American Geographers. I wish to thank the people of Chunchucmil for their warm hospitality and to express my appreciation for the assistance of Tim Beach, Bruce Dahlin, Pat Farrell, Philiberto Can, Gualberto Canul, Hillary Barbour, Clara Bezanilla, Mollie Fletcher-Klocek, Alex Karlsen, Kelly Kirchner, Johanna Weiss, and the three anonymous reviewers of a draft of this article.
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
- groundwater quality;
- water use;
- Yucatán Peninsula
ABSTRACT. Chunchucmil, on the Yucatán Peninsula, was densely populated in the Maya Late Classic period (ca. a.d. 550–830), even though it depends principally on groundwater. In the 1990s, hydrologic investigations were conducted to determine whether groundwater could have met domestic and agricultural needs. The region's groundwater is near the surface and is influenced by sea-level fluctuations; however, geochemical analysis revealed that groundwater quality is not affected by mixing with seawater. The potential exists for high and spatially extensive nitrate contamination in this karstic area, yet water-quality analyses revealed only moderate levels of nitrate in the groundwater. Agricultural limitations are imposed by chloride, total dissolved solids, and salinity, as indicated by electrical conductivity; domestic water use is limited by the presence of nitrate, sulfate, and chloride. Throughflow in the ring of cenotes (sinkholes) around the Chicxulub impact crater may explain the movement and spatial distribution of water-quality constituents in Chunchucmil's groundwater.