Ancient Mexican Carvings Being Erased by Acid Rain, Experts Say National Geographic
Pollution is threatening to erase thousand-year-old stone carvings at one of Mexico's most important archaeological sites, a new study shows.
The pre-Aztec city of El Tajin, located on Mexico's Gulf coast, is famous for its temple pyramids and intricately carved reliefs.
But acidic air pollutants pumped out by oil-drilling platforms and power stations along the coast are slowly eroding these carvings, according to Humberto Bravo, an air pollution specialist.
"The deterioration is alarming … and could cause irreparable damage to monuments that are an important part of our cultural heritage," said Bravo, of the University of Mexico's Center for Atmospheric Sciences.
Other scholars expressed similar alarm at the detrimental effects of pollution on El Tajin.
"The art of El Tajin is crucial to our understanding of the ancient history of the Gulf coast," said John Machado, a pre-Columbian art historian at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
"It gives evidence of a powerful and complex civilization that had broad interaction with Mesoamerican cultures in both central Mexico and Maya-controlled regions but still cultivated its own unique Veracruz style and iconography."
"The loss of these images would be devastating to the cultural heritage of the area," said Machado, who has done extensive research at El Tajin.