FRISCO — Expediting construction of a planned transoceanic canal in Nicaragua raises a host of environmental and social issues, according to a panel of scientists who recently met at a conference to discuss the potential impacts of the project.
The scientists urged caution and international collaboration, saying that sediment discharges during construction will threaten aquatic species, Nicaragua’s lucrative ecotourism and the supply of fresh water for drinking, irrigation and power generation.
The Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal will cut through Lake Cocibolca , Central America’s main freshwater reservoir and the largest tropical freshwater lake of the Americas. The plan will force the relocation of indigenous populations and impact a fragile ecosystem, including species at risk of extinction, according to Rice University environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez and other members of the consortium. Continue reading “Scientists urge caution on Nicaragua canal plan”→
Extreme weather likely disrupted advanced Central American civilization
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Archaeologists and paleoclimatologists have teamed to offer more proof that climate extremes likely caused the collapse on the ancient Maya civilization of Central America.
The Maya demise has long fascinated researchers, who wonder how a civilization that seemed to be at its peak simply vanished within the span of a few decades. Numerous studies have pointed to climate as a factor — even in the Earth’s pre-industrial era, natural cycles of rainfall and drought apparently had an impact.
Strong winds, dangerous surf on the coast; threatening rains in the higher terrain
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Popular tourist beaches in Central America are bracing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Harvey, now taking direct aim at Belize, where tropical storm warnings have been issued.
The storm has sustained winds of 40 mph and could drop three to five inches of rain, with higher amounts possible over the mountains. This rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides over the higher terrain.
A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the Bay Islands of Honduras. According to the latest National Weather Service advisory, the storm is moving slowly and could gain more strength over the warm Caribbean before making landfall in about 24 hours. At mid-day Friday, Harvey was about 285 miles southeast of Belize City and expected to pass over the Bay Islands during the day.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for the coast of Honduras and the coast of Guatemala. Tropical storm-force winds could also affected the southeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula by Saturday night. At present, tropical storm-force winds extend about 40 miles from the center of the storm, mainly to the north.
Dry spells may be linked to decline of pre-Hispanic civilizations in Mexico and Central America
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new tree ring study spanning more than 1,200 years is helping archaeologists pinpoint the exact dates of ancient mega-droughts that may have been key factors in the decline of major pre-Hispanic cultures in Mexico and Central America.
The new data supports other evidence that droughts played a big role in the rise and fall of the Toltecs and Maya, but the record had many gaps, leaving researchers guessing as to the exact dates geographic extent of the dry spells.
On her honeymoon, Golden-based adventure and travel writer Emily A. Palm Mulica explores indigenous cultures and tropical islands. Please scroll down for the slide show.
Story and photos by Emily A. Palm Mulica
Despite the fame of the canal, the fact the U.S. dollar serves as the national currency, and the allure of beaches and jungle, not too many Americans visit Panama. I’ve met far more folks who have ventured to Costa Rica (Panama’s northern neighbor), and this was a contributing factor to why my husband and I honeymooned last fall in Central America’s southernmost country.