Skip to comments.Pictures: Massive Maya City Revealed by Lasers
Posted on 05/21/2010 8:59:04 AM PDT by JoeProBono
Maya City in 3-D
Airborne lasers have "stripped" away thick rain forests to reveal new images of an ancient Maya metropolis that's far bigger than anyone had thought.
An April 2009 flyover of the Maya city of Caracol used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) equipmentwhich bounces laser beams off the groundto help scientists construct a 3-D map of the settlement in western Belize. The survey revealed previously unknown buildings, roads, and other features in just four days, scientists announced earlier this month at the International Symposium on Archaeometry in Tampa, Florida. University of Central Florida anthropologists Arlen and Diane Chase have spent decades hacking through the tangled undergrowth that has engulfed the powerful citywhich thrived between A.D. 550 and 900. So far they've uncovered only a tiny fraction of the ruins.
"It's like literally removing all of the plant growth, so that we can see down below," Arlen Chase said.
The Chases direct the University of Central Florida Caracol Archaeological Project, a collaborative effort with the Belize Institute of Archaeology. NASA funded the 2009 LiDAR survey, which was carried out by the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping.
Among other features, the new LiDAR images captured Caracol's tallest buildings, a set of palaces and temples called Caana.
To reproduce the landscape in 3-D, a twin-engine plane flew over the city and fired laser beams through the dense tree canopy. The beams bounced off the ground, buildings, and other structures below. (See an interactive map of the Maya civilization.)
The laser's path from plane to ground and back again was then measured and triangulated with the aid of GPS equipment to create the data for the 3-D maps.
2012, space cadets. Set your alarms!
My pyramid climbing days are over, but this does look interesting.
I'm glad somebody is finally doing something about our Maya problem.
Wow! I thougt LiDAR was only used for revenue enhancing speeding tickets. I guess it does have a purpose after all.
I went to Egypt aboard the USS JFK back in the Seventies, and took a trip to the pyramids. You could still climb them back then, and I remember climbing up a few levels of blocks and thinking “This is crazy!” They were kind of crumbly looking, and I recall thinking if you slipped, there was no stopping you, and it was going to be a long way down even from where I was, so I didn’t go up any further.
I heard a sailor on a subsequent trip there did get badly injured or killed when he fell, and they prohibited it for sailors.
Nowadays, I don’t think anyone is allowed to climb.
I got off the Kennedy just prior to that cruise. We never pulled into Egypt while I was onboard.
So you were on for the 1976 North Atlantic and 1977 Med?
I got off in Feb ‘77.
Not going to happen though they are having fun believing it....mega money being made on those “believers”...it is a fantasy world they live in no doubt. Least we forget the “Heavens Gate” crew who commited suicide was the only reality that occured in their twisted thinking.
One day this will be used on Detroit.
I haven’t been to Egypt, but I did climb the Pyramid of the Moon near Mexico City and the pyramid at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan. That one at Chichen Itza had very narrow steps, less width than your shoe. Going up was not too bad, but my acrophobia kicked in when I got to the top and I went down on my butt, scooting from step to step and hanging on to a chain that served as a kind of railing. I ruined a good pair of shorts with that butt scoot, but it saved my sanity. The view from the top of the pyramid was terrific but I would not do it again.
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“I havent been to Egypt, but I did climb the Pyramid of the Moon near Mexico City and the pyramid at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan.”
In 1984 in Egypt I climbed the Great Pyramid, but on the inside rather than the outside. What a trip!
Never been to Egypt, though. That sounds totally cool.
I don’t think I want to know how you did that - I’m dizzy just looking up at it.
In Egypt we were 4 days cruising the Nile from Aswan to Luxor, then 4 days in Cairo with a hotel room (Penta Siag) looking out at the Giza pyramids. In the Valley of the Kings (Luxor) we were inside Tut’s tomb (with him, he is re-entombed there) and in Cairo, we also had a tour of the Egyptian Museum, plus many other sites and sound along the Nile or in Cairo.
At the very back of the ruins, which were in the process of being uncovered and reconstructed, there was a "wall" where you could see the different levels of "cities" on that site. Kinda like looking at the rings of a tree...........
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