Deep Exploration of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza | Exploración Profunda de Kukulcán en Chichén Itzá

Deep Exploration of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza

Revealing the Secrets of the Kukulcán Pyramid. A Glimpse at the Heart of a Mayan Wonder. Deep Exploration of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) joins a global initiative called NAUM, an English acronym that translates as Muography for Non-Invasive Archaeological Applications.

This pioneering project aims to carry out, starting next summer, a detailed analysis of the Kukulcan pyramid located in the emblematic site of Chichen Itza, in Yucatán.

Cutting-edge Technology to Explore the Past

The main objective, detailed by Arturo Menchaca Rocha, distinguished researcher and former director of the Institute of Physics, together with Edmundo García Solís, professor and researcher at Chicago State University (CSU), is to capture an accurate “x-ray” of the depths of The Castle.

Using advanced cosmic ray detectors, they seek to confirm the presence of secret chambers within the second underground structure that lies beneath this 30-meter-high construction.

In conversations with the media, both scientists shared their enthusiasm for the initial stage of the project, which consists of mapping the two previously discovered chambers, known as the Jaguar chamber and the Chac Mool chamber.

Successful identification of these cavities would confirm the effectiveness of the detection system, opening the way for further investigations.

International Knowledge Collaboration

This exploration is supported by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and receives funding from both UNAM and the United States National Science Foundation.

Adding to this effort are academics from the Dominican and Virginia universities, as well as specialists from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), all based in the United States.

This project not only stands out for its non-invasive approach to archaeological heritage, but also for the potential to shed light on the mysteries still guarded by the Kukulcán pyramid, one of the most precious treasures of the Mayan civilization and one of the New Seven. Wonders of the World.

Cosmic X-ray

From the cosmos, a constant rain of particles bombards our planet. Primarily composed of protons, or hydrogen nuclei, this cosmic radiation sets off a fascinating chain of events as it interacts with Earth’s atmosphere.

Arturo Menchaca Rocha, a prominent researcher, explains how the initial impact with the atmosphere produces pions that quickly transform into muons, charged particles that manage to penetrate to the Earth’s surface.

Edmundo García Solís, professor and researcher, clarifies that muons are essentially messengers from the sky, differentiating themselves from other particles, such as neutrinos, due to their ability to be easily detected. At sea level, a muon passes through the space of a human fingernail every minute, evidencing its abundance and allowing it to be counted in detail.

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Deep Exploration of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza

A Window into the Hidden

This peculiarity of muons is used to explore and reveal anomalies in structures such as pyramids, where density variations could indicate the presence of secret chambers or undiscovered empty spaces.

García Solís details how a special detector, equipped with scintillator plastic, captures and converts the passage of each muon into light signals, which are subsequently digitized for exhaustive analysis.

Tracing the Invisible Path

The design of the detector is such that, using three planes of triangular bars, the exact trajectory of the muons is established, thus providing a precise image of what lies hidden within the ancient constructions.

This technique, which significantly improves spatial resolution, was pioneered by Luis Álvarez, an American scientist who applied it to the pyramid of Giza more than fifty years ago, and more recently by Menchaca to the Pyramid of the Sun, in Teotihuacan.

Today, thanks to technological advances, these instruments have evolved to be compact enough to be installed in small spaces, thus allowing their use in the intricate passageways of the enigmatic Mayan buildings.

This innovation opens new doors to unlocking the long-kept secrets of ancient civilizations, fusing particle physics with archeology in a way never seen before.

Scientific Revelation at El Castillo de Chichen Itza

A multidisciplinary team has conducted four detailed expeditions to Chichen Itza to date, employing laser scanning technology to precisely capture the exact dimensions and structure of the iconic El Castillo pyramid.

This advanced methodology made it possible to evaluate the density of the pyramid’s constituent materials, as well as to adjust and test a specially designed detector, sized at one meter by eighty centimeters and one meter high, in replicas of the site’s underground tunnels.

In addition, adjustments were made to the site’s electrical infrastructure, internet connections and data transmission were secured, and the site’s extreme environmental conditions were monitored, which include 100% humidity and constant temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius, described by Arturo Menchaca as conditions typical of a sauna bath.

Challenges and Technical Strategies

The intention is to place two detectors, one in each of the tunnels of the archaeological site, although this requires reinforcing one of the passageways that was damaged in previous excavations. García Solís highlighted the need for this structural reinforcement for the successful implementation of the project.

Furthermore, the role of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has been crucial, not only in the manufacture and support of the mechanical structure of the detector, which was designed to tilt and rotate to different angles like a telescope, but also as a essential link with Mexico and its cultural and scientific wealth.

This collaboration highlights the importance of integrating local institutions in research of international relevance.

Deep Exploration of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza

Preliminary Tests and Future Vision

Before its final installation in Chichen Itza, the detector will undergo tests at the UNAM Institute of Physics to fine-tune its muonic “vision” capacity through dense structures, using the institute’s 5.5 megaelectronvolt particle accelerator. .

Subsequently, once operational at the site, it is estimated that the detailed “x-ray” of El Castillo will require approximately six months to complete, promising unprecedented revelations about the mysteries that this Mayan archaeological wonder still holds.

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Deep Exploration of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza

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