Conflicting Essays in scholarship which have been the most engaging research job I have ever done. I have also added, over the years, queries about our "dated" geology with their "computerized" confirmations together with climate changes denied since 1963. The Ten-O'clock News have been telling us to change our clocks for DSL and back again BUT no one as noticed it has been changed, more than a few years ago, from March 31 and October 31, to a week or so earlier or even a week or so later.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cenotes: Sacred water holes, or Swiss Cheese?

      When one thinks of "cenotes" one thinks of the Chichen Itza in the Yucatan.  There are various names for cenotes in Mexico:
  In 1936, F.G. Hall,  named various types of open wells found in the Yucatan; i.e. Cenotes-cántaro: Jug, or Pit cenotes have a surface connection much smaller than the diameter of the body of water below; Cenotes-cilíndricos: Cylinder cenotes  have vertical walls; Cenotes-aguadas: Basin cenotes only have shallow water while grutas: Cave cenotes usually have a horizontal entrance with liveable areas around pools of clear water filtered through the cave ceilings. [1]
      In Mexico, some "cenotes" were once used  as  living quarters. In 1985, Charles Gallenkamp, wrote such a descriptions of certain caves four miles east of Chichén Itzá at Balankanché (Translated as "throne of the Balam" [Yucatec].)  One such cave had a stalactite in center of a room from floor to ceiling. It is similar to one posted during the year 2008. The description of a cave with a stalactite carved to resemble Itzamná the Lizard. [2] It is the same as the central pole ceremony of the house that was being built, even though the house did not carve the pole into the icon of Itzamná.

      Thor Anderson once studied in Chiapas, in the Maya village of Kruston. Even though he did not hear of any cenotes in the mountainous region where he was working, he did learn caves in the nearby hills may be limestone. However, he also was reminded by his co-workers that those caves were taboo.

       So, instead of exploring the land,  he worked hard with the builders and learned quite a bit about house construction. Being so close to the natives and interacting with them, he also learned a bit about their idioms [modismos] and semi-mythic history. His description of how the central pole in Maya houses, dedicated to Itzam-ná, god of the earth and the sky, was a lesson in Astronomy and Geology, even so, I was clueless when I finally walked in those caves. [3]

      It was years later, when I was in San Cristobal with Socorro, we toured several of those caves. They were immense caverns, with pure water in deep pools, that because of their clarity seemed to be shallow. The cave guide informed us differently. The pool we admired, was very very deep. Water filtered through the limestone roofs from the land above created the depth of the pool because of the moisture that dripped from the ceiling above the pool.

Where Cenotes became Swiss Cheese holes in the Land

      The Maya knew there was some reason for the cenotes to exist. Never were they surprised when a sinkhole appeared, i.e.: as when the Sacred Pool at Chichen Itza lost its roof. Since it was never a constant threat to the land, the pools were treated as "donated" by the gods, to help the native population survive where water was scarce on the tableland itself.

     Technically, sinkholes appear in limestone country all over the world. Heavy rains, a burst drainage pipe, anything can cause such an unexpected hole in the ground. However, in spite of the verification of its limestone base, Florida is made up mostly of coral rock. Basically, the peninsula was built on old island-type atoll formed by coral  reefs of long, long ago. Southern Florida, south of Miami, there is a coral rock castle, built by a recluse who liked the ease of digging up the rocks and easily carving them into massive structures of his own design. 
      Several science magazines and newspapers, including the small map above, have commented on the loss of coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and off the coast of Hawaii. They found that the water was acquiring more acid and was eating away huge areas of coral. The skeletal remains of coral also began to disintegrate. New reefs for fish who had fed off the coral were created from old cars, and other types of debris. Such action seemed to solve the problem. It did not. The living coral that fed and protected the various species of fish is no longer alive, teeming with fish and living coral.

     As the acidity of the waters continued to grow, rain became scarce on the mainland, especially the Florida peninsula. Scientists found that certain chemicals could expand clouds so that they could produce rain. Vapor trails covered the skies when rain was scarce. And abundant rains fell, somewhere else!
However, since clouds are driven by the air currents, the rains seldom fell where the vapor trails were first seen. Has anyone noticed that Texas had 100 days with temperatures over 100° during one summer without rain? Or was it only 99 days? Does it matter? 
From:   os-florida-sinkholes-map-20130812
     Florida has acquired a new problem. Since 1954, more than 500 sinkholes have appeared in a single county. It is not attributed to the gods, and there is nothing sacred about them. They are destructive, and at times, take a victim. The only entities that reacted, were insurance companies who were deluged with sinkhole damage claims statewide. The State decided in 2010 to create statute of law that would require people to pay for insurance to cover future claims.[5] The people pay the fees and, in turn, recover part of their losses. However, no one has managed to recover those lives that had been lost.
". . . a sinkhole – a hazard [now] so common in Florida that state law [now] requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger.. ."
"Acidic rain can, over time, eat away the limestone and natural caverns that lie under much of the state, causing sinkholes. Both extremely dry weather and very wet weather can trigger sinkholes, [an investigator] said ."
More than 500 sinkholes have been reported in Hillsborough County alone since the government started keeping track in 1954, according to the state's environmental agency..," 
"There have been only three deaths ever in the state related to sinkholes in Florida, but there were others in other states, countries,i.e. Canada, and  even our own Hawaii."
"There are more than 15,000 verified sinkholes in Florida, including 23 sinkholes within a mile of the one that took Bush. There are more sinkholes in Florida than any other state, according to the firm."

      Mother Earth is crying and no one is listening.  Does not anyone ask why?  Does anyone really care?  If the Sky, the Ocean and the Land are all in trouble, what are we doing wrong?  Why is Florida turning into a slab of Swiss Cheese?
[1]  Hall, F.G. (1936) Physical and chemical survey of cenotes of Yucatán, Carnegie Institution of Washington; Publication 457, 5-16.

]2]  Gallenkamp, Charles (1985, 203) The Riddle and Rediscovery of a Lost Civilization: Maya, (Third Revised Edition) Published in conjunction with the Exhibition Maya: Treasures of an Ancient Civilization.  Within a description of caves east of Chichén Itzá. (4 miles East) at Balankanché (meaning "throne of the Balam" [Yuctaec])  one cave had a stalactite in center of room from floor to ceiling. It was similar to the current (year 2008) description of a cave with a stalactite carved to resemble Itzamná the Lizard.

[3]  Anderson, Thor (1975, 162) Kruston: A Study of House and Home in a Maya Village. Thesis,  Harvard University. "The sixth question [claims]...This is what the trunk of the pochote tree is: it is a lizard. [i.e. iguana]. . . This is the trunk of the pochote tree, the base of the tail of a lizard. The language of Zuyua."

[4] O'Meara, Chris and Lush, Tamaraush (03/01/13)  Florida Sinkhole: Rescue Crews Try To Reach Man Swallowed By Massive Chasm, Web News.

[5] FL STATE  69J-9.001 Section 627.7065(2), F.S., requires the Department of Financial Services ("DFS") to consult with the Florida Geological Survey ("FGS") and the Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") to implement a statewide electronic .... 7783297 10/16/2009 Vol. 35/41. 
The next year LAW:   69J-9.001 was proposed and confirmed. "The proposed rule amendment revises the rule to change the time period and restrict database submissions to only those claims that involve sinkholes and catastrophic ground cover collapse that were 'closed' and 'confirmed' ....' 9227239  10/8/2010"