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Mexican Pyramid Could Crumble, Scientists Say
March 5, 2014

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One of Mexico's largest pyramids is in danger of collapse, scientists say.

The Pyramid of the Sun, in the lost city now known as Teotihuacan, has a dry side and a wet side, as discovered by 3D imaging carried out by a group of researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The 3D scans showed that one side of the pyramid was 20 percent less dense than the other, meaning that the dry side was in danger of crumbling.

The scientists said that the risk of collapse was not imminent but was very real if some sort of repairs were not made. The phenomenon, the scientists said, was the same as that observed in Mexico City, which was built on what used to be a lake, and which sinks a few inches every year. The scientists differed in their support of repair theories, with some preferring structural repairs to the stones and others preferring to shore up the earth-filled interior.

The Pyramid of the Sun, named by Aztecs who lived in the area after it was abandoned by the Teotihuacanos, rises 246 feet high and spans 738 feet wide. Nearby is the similarly named Pyramid of the Moon.

Not much is known of the ancient society. The pyramids are thought by some scholars to venerate deities and other scholars to have served an anthropological purpose. Very few artifacts have been found inside the pyramids.

Teotihuacan itself is thought to have had a population of up to 125,000 at its height, in the 1st Century A.D., which would have made it one of the largest cities in the world at that time. Excavations at the remains of the city, which lie 30 miles northeast of what is now Mexico City, have revealed extensive multi-floor residential compounds, a significant number of murals and potsherds, and the pyramids, which dot the landscape surrounding the famed Avenue of the Dead.

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