Mexico’s iconic Pyramid of the Sun could be in danger of sinking. Researchers point to a lack of humidity as the culprit.
The Pyramid of the Sun dominates the skyline in the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Built in the first century, it was originally covered in lime plaster and decorated with brightly-colored murals. Now, a lack of humidity is drying out the pyramid… making part of it much more fragile.
Mexican researchers, using a device that measures sub-atomic particles called muons, have concluded that the southern side is losing density quickly, partly due to intense sun exposure and extreme dryness.
Lack of Humidity Affects Iconic Mexican PyramidMexico's iconic Pyramid of the Sun could be in danger of sinking. Researchers point to a lack of humidity as the culprit.
Archaeologists believe the problem is a result of well-meaning but misguided restoration efforts. Over the centuries, vegetation and soil had covered the pyramid, protecting its surface from sunlight. But in 1910, the overgrowth was removed and replaced with rocks. In the 1970’s cement was added.
It doesn’t help that thousands of tourists march across the pyramid each year especially during spring equinox celebrations. Scientists say the structure is not in any immediate danger of sinking… but they worry that an ancient monument that stood solidly for centuries, will slowly start to show signs of decline.