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The Grijalva delta flood frequency and Mesoamerican civilizations growth, flourishment and decay

PUBLISHED April 28, 2023 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.54985/peeref.2304p8469700)



Yanira A. Olivares Rosales1 , Juan Pablo Milana2
  1. Universidad Nacional de San Juan
  2. INGEO CONICET-FCEFN Universidad Nacional de San Juan

Conference / event

XVII RAS Argentine Meeting of Sedimentology and VIII CLS Latin American Congress of Sedimentology, October 2021 (Paraná, Entre Ríos, Argentina)

Poster summary

The Grijalva delta is among the longest coastal ridge successions of the world, and hence a unique geoarchive to unveil the environmental, climatic and human evolution in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. In order to test the synchronism hypothesis in shoreline formation, detailed mapping of these shoreline arcs was performed, from the start of progradation after the Holocene eustatic maximum, which is generally estimated at c.6.3 Ka. We identified 498 coastal ridges for the modern delta from the earliest age of 5500 years BP (5.5 Ka) to the present. In this model, the formation of each arc responds to events of extraordinary fluvial floods. This excess sediment contribution that causes this periodic progradation is caused by an extraordinary excess of water. We, therefore, conclude that it is possible that the river floods, and the associated climatic effects, played a decisive role in the collapse of Mesoamerican civilizations.


Climate, Geoarchive, Holocene, Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

Research areas

Earth Sciences, Archeology, Environmental Sciences, Anthropology


  1. Rodriguez, A. B., Hamilton, M. D. & Anderson, J. B. Facies and Evolution of the modern Brazos Delta, Texas: Wave versus flood influence, J. Sed. Research, 70, 283-295 (2000). DOI: 10.1306/2DC40911-0E47-11D7-8643000102C1865D
  2. Noreen, K., 2017. Holocene evolution of the Tabasco delta – Mexico, Utrecht studies in Earth Sciences 144, 172 pp.
  3. Otvos, E. G., 2000. Beach ridges - definitions and significance. Geomorphology, 32: 83- 108.Ötvos. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0169-555X(99)00075-6
  4. Milana, J.P., Conforti, C., Guedes, F. & Valdez Buso, V., 2017. A new geoarchive for timing climatic, fluvial and marine events of the Atlantic coast of Southern Brasil (c.6 ka to present). In: Interactions between Quaternary climate forcing, tectonics and volcanism along some different tectonic settings of South America. Ed. by D. Kröhling. Quaternary Intrenational, special issue. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2016.11.029
  5. Milana, J.P., Olivares, Y.A. (2021). The Grijalva delta flood frequency and Mesoamerican civilizations growth, flourishment and decay. Academia Letters, Article 1995. https://doi.org/10.20935/AL1995.


No data provided

Supplemental files

  1. Kees Nooren et al, proporciona dataciones que nos permiten hacer una analisis temporal.   Download
  2. Dataciones guías para la secuencia temporal según la frecuencia de formación.   Download

Additional information

Competing interests
No competing interests were disclosed.
Data availability statement
The datasets generated during and / or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Creative Commons license
Copyright © 2023 Olivares Rosales et al. This is an open access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Olivares Rosales, Y., Milana, J. The Grijalva delta flood frequency and Mesoamerican civilizations growth, flourishment and decay [not peer reviewed]. Peeref 2023 (poster).
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