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Monday, June 2, 2014

Volcanic Evidence Opens New Maya Mystery

Temple in the Kingdom of Tikal, one of the
most prominent of the Classic Period.
Credit: © Science/AAAS
Live Science | May 30, 2014 | Becky Osken

Tough and tiny zircon crystals have helped researchers rule out an enormous volcanic blast as the source of ash used to make Maya pottery, deepening this long-running archaeological mystery.

"While we're a little sad not to have solved the mystery, we're really confident we can say the most likely source quite conclusively isn't a match," said lead author Kevin Coffey, a geology master's student at the University of California, Los Angeles.

However, the results did a reveal a tantalizing new pottery puzzle for scientists to solve — whether the Maya's ash came from one volcano or many spewing cones.

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