Dissertation and all web site contents copyright 2008 Bradley W. Russell
The entire area is distinctly flat in character and does not lie far above sea level. Soils are very thin,
usually measuring no more than 40cm, sometimes as deep as 60cm. Just as common is exposed
whitish limestone bedrock. The surface of the land is broken up by a series of low hillocks or altillos.
These are typically only a few meters tall. Placement of structures on top of them is the norm, especially
for residential features A.L. Smith 1962; Brown 1999). The slight elevation allows for some increased
breeze which is critical with temperatures that regularly top 105° F/40° C during March, April and May
(lows of around 40° F/5° C are seen in January and February). The breeze also helps to keep biting
mosquitoes at a minimum. Little soil is usually found on top of these altillos. The majority of the soil
that does exist tends to wash down into the bajos between these features. During the rainy season
from May to October, intense storms can briefly flood these areas. Of the roughly 1m of rain that falls in
the area annually, most comes down during this short period. Even under these conditions, there is
rapid drainage into the karst limestone underground. The remainder of the year is very dry.
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