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Changes in insolation — the amount of solar energy received by the Earth from the sun — triggered the collapse.


The key culprit in the mysterious fall of the world’s largest and earliest urban civilization nearly 4,000 years ago in what is now India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh appears to have been changes in insolation — changes in the amount of solar energy received by the Earth from the sun, says this article by Charles Choi.

Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, with the Great Bath in the front - Courtesy Wikipedia

“Our research provides one of the clearest examples of climate change leading to the collapse of an entire civilization,” said Liviu Giosan, a geologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

The largest of the ancient great urban cultures was the Indus or Harappan civilization, which once extended some 386,000 sq miles (1 million sq km) across the plains of the Indus River from the Arabian Sea to the Ganges. The civilization developed about 5,200 years ago, then slowly disintegrated between 3,900 and 3,000 years ago, when residents largely abandoned its cities and migrated east.

Nearly a century ago, researchers began discovering numerous remains of Harappan settlements along the Indus River and its tributaries, as well as in a vast desert region at the border of India and Pakistan. Evidence was uncovered for sophisticated cities, sea links with Mesopotamia, internal trade routes, arts and crafts, and as-yet undeciphered writing.

“They had cities ordered into grids, with exquisite plumbing, which was not encountered again until the Romans,” Giosan told LiveScience.

Now Giosan and his colleagues have reconstructed the landscape where this long-forgotten Harappan civilization developed.

Initially, its the monsoon-drenched rivers were prone to devastating floods. Over time, the monsoons weakened, enabling agriculture and civilization to flourish along the riverbanks for nearly 2,000 years.

But then, the amount of  insolation — the amount of solar energy received by the Earth from the sun — changed.

Insolation varies in cycles, which can impact monsoons, Giosan pointed out. “In the last 10,000 years, the Northern Hemisphere had the highest insolation from 7,000 to 5,000 years ago, and since then insolation there decreased. All climate on Earth is driven by the sun, and so the monsoons were affected by the lower insolation, decreasing in force. This meant less rain got into continental regions affected by monsoons over time.”

Did you catch that? “All climate on Earth is driven by the sun.”

Eventually, these monsoon-based rivers held too little water and dried, and the Harappans apparently fled east toward the Ganges basin, where monsoon rains remained reliable.

This change would have spelled disaster for the cities of the Indus, which were built on the large surpluses seen during the earlier, wetter era.

The scientists detailed their findings online May 28 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

See entire article:
http://www.livescience.com/20614-collapse-mythical-river-civilization.html

Thanks to Robert Stom and James Knowles for this link

 

16 Responses to Ancient Civilization Collapse Explained

  1. Carla says:

    Good article, it’s like looking into our future, we (people, civilisations) will be on the move and top it of with war, earthquakes, spewing volcano and last but not least the financial depression of the world, we might be running! Keep prepping.

  2. Inquiring says:

    A little off topic or maybe not! India has a major city thats submerged off the coast and shown to be 12000. Years old and maybe much older and went under with the ice melt from the last ice age and the survivors moved inland to the mountains.

  3. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    The reason Rome fell was due to the end of the Roman Warm Period. Most tribute paid to Rome was agricultural products. Each time a warm period comes to an end the results are famine.

    As of now, the idiots called “scientists” have it all wrong concerning CO2 as a pollutant . . . CO2 is direly needed for the growth of green plants. Lessening the amount of CO2 would result in great famine.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Good aticle but old news like many of the current papers that show a failure to read the literature. In 1977, Reid Bryson, the father of modern climatology did an extensive review of this collapse of the Harappan culture in his book “Climates of Hunger”. It is interesting to see the scientific papers coming out now that present as new information what classical paleoclimatologists have know for years:The cold times are the bad times.

  5. Brad says:

    Interesting footnote on the submerged civilization found under the ocean off India.I think there is definatly more undiscovered ruins expecially off the coast of South and North America waiting to be found that date this far back as well.

  6. RobertvdL says:

    Let’s see just one of the changes through time.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/Precession_and_seasons.jpg

  7. Laurel says:

    yeah Prepping is very wise.
    the trend to keep minimal food in store at home and the nuttier mini kitchens being touted lately?
    no oven or stove just a tiny microwave and toater oven at most. the assumption of take away frozen etc is really dim. most stores have a 3 or so day stock..if is interrupted it all falls over fast.

    • John the 1st says:

      I haven’t actually heard about the mini-kitchen trend. Is it an Aussie thing? Here in California they have for years encouraged people to store food, water, medicine etc. It is the same in all the states. There has been a concerted effort for years to get people to prepare. Back in 1998 Washington state organized neighborhood disaster committees, a thinly veiled admission that they really weren’t sure what was going to happen with the Y2K farce. Between earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes etc its just not prudent to get caught with your pants down and your pantry empty.
      Course I don’t know how many people take it seriously.

  8. Steven Rowlandson says:

    I was under the impression that the real problem was a nuclear war fought in the region by the gods.
    The same thing happened to the cities at the south end of the dead sea around 4100 years ago.
    Technology and civilization on earth has its cycles just like the climate.

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  9. Kevin K. says:

    But to hear the global warming alarmists talk, sun energy changes from let’s say the 1930s versus a Maunder Minimum would only cause 0.2C of difference in temperature! The rest is caused by SUV’s and evil power plants. I guess those Romans and Harappans would still be around today had they invented those items, too bad for them…

  10. William Sellers says:

    This is a seminal piece of research from a respected institution that cast great doubt on the mankind made global warming premise.

    Anyone who has spent any time in India, and seen ruins & artifacts that are far greater than what’s in the shallow, media-centric West (where the ad buyers are), should do a mental double-take.

  11. Neil Love says:

    Few people seem to understand that during Ice Ages the world is completely different, compared to how it is in our present day and during the past 10,000 years of interglacial warm period. During Ice Ages sea level will steadily go down as ice and snow accumulate on the land. Looking at Google Earth one can see clear evidence, all around the world, of river erosion down to a depth of four kilometers below present day sea level. In my opinion all the land, where we are no living, will become engulfed under massive amounts of snow and ice. Even around the equator too, since four thousand meters above sea level will be either desert, because of lack of CO2 required for plant growth, or so above the snow line, or both, such that even on the equator there will be ice sheets. To most people the idea that the Congo Basin or the Amazon Basin, could be glacial depressions, seems impossible. However, my geography teacher was crystal clear on the subject. Ice Ages are the norm. The warm interglacial period that we are living in at present is very certainly not the norm. My opinion is that it is the variations in the amount of Cosmic Ray Induction that is dictating the comings and goings of Ice Ages. Cosmic Ray Induction causing the accumulation of static electric charges in the earths crust, which then breaks out along lines of electrical conduction, thus forming volcano’s. At this point I always have to explain that I believe in the hollow earth theory, in which all stars and planets are hollow. Thus to me volcanic activity is entirely driven by Cosmic Ray Induction. In my hollow earth comprehension, volcano’s form along fault lines, because water flows into the faults, thus acting as a line of electrical conduction. So long as the electric charges remain static, they cannot be detected. Only as the electric charge starts to move [volts] will the current [amps] cause the rocks to melt into lava, or even turn into gas or plasma, which is carried along by the current of electricity. The most previous super volcano erupted somewhere around about 73,000 years ago in Sumatra. It not only caused the last great Ice Age, but also nearly wiped human beings off the map completely. According to DNA researchers it has been discovered that all human beings alive today are decended from no more than thirty original mothers who survived that sumatra eruption. If there would be such a super volcano eruption again today I suspect that human civilization would certainly not be able to survive it. For example if the Yellowstone Caldera erupted today what would happen as regard to nuclear power plants ? Would they all go into melt down ? Would all the spent rods catch on fire ? Yellowstone Caldera is actually not that big compared to other super volcano caldera found all around the world in every continent. Just recently there have been some earthquakes in northern Italy around Modena in Emiglia-Romania region. In my opinion the real problem is not the earthquakes, but rather the volcanic caldera underneath of Tuscany and Umbria, around Lake Trasimeno, that is causing the earthquakes. There are even bigger super volcano caldera in Turkey too. Look at the Sahara and one can see massive super volcano structures. My intuition is telling me that we are well over due for another super volcano eruption. Yellowstone Caldera might not be the one that will erupt. The idea that we will get plenty of warning before any such eruption does not add up scientifically. In my opinion we will get no warning whatsoever ! Due to the nature of electrical phenomenon it is my opinion that super volcano eruptions spring out on us literally out of nowhere. Much the same as lightning in a thunderstorm. Whilst on the subject I would also like to mention that the 1909 Tunguska Explosion, that has been a mystery, can be explained as being one such electrical explosion, caused by the river water from the Tunguska River, flowing into the ground along a fault line, thus setting into place a line of electrical conduction. What would be the reaction if such an electrical explosion would take place in the USA ? Would the ubiquitous “terrorists” get the blame ? Even more startling, what if such an explosion were to be misunderstood as being a nuclear attack, such that in retaliation the USA would launch its intercontinental ballistic weapons ? Obviously the polititians and militarists know far too little about these geological matters.

    • Laurent says:

      Ice age sea levels have been charted pretty well by examining the history of tropical coral reefs such as Barbados. During the Ice age the sea level was 100 to 120 meters lower than today. The much deeper submarine canyons like the Hudson canyon were formed by the enormous flow of meltwater and rubble from the glacial terminal moraine. The tropics remain tropical, but are much smaller, and the “temperate” zones become cold, windswept steppe – good mammoth grazing. But you’re certainly right about the supervolcanoes – Yellowstone, Long Valley, the Cascades, in the US alone.

  12. James L says:

    I was under the impression that the 1909 Tunguska Explosion was in fact a comet of some form… As they replicated the ground zero later with atmospheric nuclear weapons testing.
    I’m not sure I follow your theory of electrical conduction either. I understand that there could be something to do with volcanic activity with Earth’s magnetic field and interaction with the sun… but I do not see the Earth as being hollow.

    Super volcanoes will probably just erupt with no warning, but I would have thought that by being so large, the amount of planetary crust above them would just fail at the time of eruption due to the immense pressure of the magma chamber.

    As for blaming terrorists and the US launching all their nukes in retaliation. I’m pretty sure they would need to have physical proof to what has caused such damage. Nobody would be so stupid to launch nukes without such consideration.

    Same again with the sea levels. Like one guy said, sea levels were only some 100 – 200 metres below their current level.

    I’d imagine that just like the sun’s 11 year sunspot cycle; ice age’s vary in strength so to say. I believe that there have been ice ages in the past that the planetary temperatures have fallen so low that ice has indeed covered the whole planet to create an ‘Ice ball’

    Anyway, I think that’s all I have to say for now… Unless I re-read the comments and find something else to point out.

    • Steven Rowlandson says:

      James I seriously doubt the hollow earth theory also. On the other hand there does appear to be some evidence that the ancients may have been more advanced than previously thought and I mean the upper echelons of ancient societies. Given that beyond a certain point history is poorly recorded and that leaves alot of unrecorded history that is hinted at in myths and legends. Something to consider if you click on the links included in a previous posting.


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