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A Journey Into Paradise

Mexico Real Estate’s Yucatan Peninsula: A Brief History

19 January, 2014

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is comprised of a complex ecosystem that resulted from a variety of geologic events,climate change and the impact of a large asteroid that hit the earth millions of years ago. Although scientists have been able to learn quite a bit about the history of this area and its formation,its exact geology is still largely a mystery due to a lack of adequate excavations,the inaccessible inland jungle terrain and the small amount of exposed rock strata available. 

What we do know about Mexico real estate’s Yucatan peninsula comes from a quest for oil in the 1970’s by PEMEX,Mexico’s state-owned oil conglomerate,which discovered that the area is a large limestone platform that slants ever so slightly toward the sea. This is characterized by the low,sloping hills that stretch southward across the peninsula,and the fact that it is necessary to travel a far distance offshore before reaching deep water. 

Since limestone is soluble in water,the bedrock of the Yucatan peninsula is riddled with countless caves and sinkholes underground,which the locals refer to as cenotes. These sinkholes provide excellent freshwater swimming opportunities and were considered to be sacred by the ancient Mayans. 

Also,since the limestone has so many holes,there are no significant aboveground rivers on the entire peninsula,but you often don’t have to dig very far underground to hit fresh water. Along the coast,you might find water as close as five feet below the surface,while farther inland it may take 30-50 feet.

Scientists have also learned that the last Ice Age had a significant impact on the Yucatan Peninsula. There was an extreme drop in sea levels,which meant that all of the underground caves and cenotes in the region were dry. Then,when the Ice Age ended and the planet’s climate began to warm up,the glaciers receded,flooding the caves and creating all of the various underground rivers we see today. 

So where did all of this leave the ancient humans of the Yucatan? We can’t say for sure,but scientists do believe the region was populated. They estimate that water levels reached their current levels about 1,000 years ago,while carbon dating of artifacts discovered here dates back more than 7,000 years.

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