National Geographic Presents '2012: Countdown to Armageddon'

What if the Maya were right about the end of humanity as we know it? Would fire pour from the sky, buildings shatter, floods destroy the nation's capital and Los Angeles slide into the Pacific? That's how Hollywood is interpreting the end of the Maya great calendar cycle on December 21, 2012, in the new movie "2012" with John Cusack. Is there truth behind the compelling myth that has captured the popular imagination? Now an unexpected discovery points to a catastrophic Earth event, perhaps suggesting we are doomed to repeat it ... could this be a scientific basis for the date ancient Maya astronomers anticipated thousands of years ago?

National Geographic Channel examines the evidence behind the Maya calendar prophecies in 2012: Countdown to Armageddon, premiering Sunday, November 8, 2009, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Follow Princeton University scientist Adam Maloof to three continents on a detective story that spans eons -- with clues embedded in the oldest rocks on the planet. Is there evidence of global upheaval on a massive scale? What can be gleaned from the technically advanced celestial orientation of the Maya ruins? What were the Maya hoping to record in their comprehensive astronomy text called the Dresden Codex? And does a discovery from a melting glacier offer provocative signs of devastating change in ancient Maya times?
The Maya believed that everything -- including creation and destruction -- occurred in cycles. Their calendar spanned five cycles, each lasting approximately 5,200 years. At the end of each cycle before this one, the Maya believed the current, flawed creation had to be destroyed for the world to be born again. Some believe the end of the current cycle on December 21, 2012, is an apocalyptic sign. And those who see a connection between the complex and incredibly accurate Maya calendar and a prophecy that the world will end in 2012 point to an unexpected discovery in 2003 by Maloof and a team of scientists as proof.

What if ancient Maya myths were to come true in 2012? Maloof says, "We would expect an absolutely spectacular catastrophe; it would affect every single person on every continent."

When examining an 800-million-year old rock on a remote Norwegian archipelago, Maloof and team found surprising evidence that suggests the Earth's entire crust and mantle violently shifted at once. To confirm, Maloof heads to the Australian outback, and amazingly, rocks found half a world apart record identical, violent shifts in sea level and climate, as well as a massive geologic upheaval -- providing further evidence that a dramatic shift took place 800 million years ago. Some believe this finding is the lynchpin in a series of cataclysmic disasters that will usher in the end of the world as we know it, and today remains one of the most alarming natural phenomena tied to 2012.

In the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Maloof explores the ruins of Chichén Itzá, which some believe to be the physical embodiment of the Maya calendar. Maloof learns how the Maya precisely calculated time by observing the stars. One researcher believes the ruins include front-row seats to a cosmic phenomenon that happens only once every 26,000 years: a three-way lineup of the Earth, the sun and the center of the Milky Way that he believes could be a testament to violent times and the end of humanity.

Then, to examine the Maya prophecies firsthand as they were recorded more than 500 years ago, Maloof travels to Germany for a look at the Dresden Codex -- the most comprehensive source for Maya astronomy, which has been locked in a high-security vault. 2012: Countdown to Armageddon highlights its last page, which graphically depicts an apocalypse and the destruction of the world.

Finally, Maloof travels to the world's largest tropical ice cap high in the Peruvian Andes after an incredible discovery was found at the foot of the melting ice mass -- 5,200-year-old plants flash-frozen. Millennia ago, when the last great calendar cycle of the Maya came to an end, rapid climate change shook up the world and devastated habitats. According to Maloof, "It's hard not to imagine that the Mayans experienced some great climate change that became part of their mythology and probably fed some of their prophecies for 2012."

Today, climate change is happening again, right before our eyes. Are we on the verge of a catastrophic event in 2012 that the Maya predicted?

-press release

1 Comment

how did the mayan's determine 5400 year cycles as cataclysmic? did they recognize that an event occurred approx 5200 years ago and based an assumption upon astrological cycles or was there factual knowledge of prior events ie 10800 yrs ago.
thanks
great show
john

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