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Current Affairs

Determining age of Ram Setu

Date: 29 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

 Indian scientists will undertake a scientific expedition to date the chain of corals and sediments forming the Ram Setu.

 

Background

Ram Setu or Adam’s bridge is a bridge-like structure between India and Sri Lanka which finds mention in the Ramayana but little about its formation is known or scientifically proven.

 

Details

  • CSIR-NIO will undertake a three-year scientific project. The idea is to see whether Ram Setu is a man-made structure or not.

  • The most important aspect of the project is to establish its age, scientifically. Once it is known, the information can be verified and co-related with its mention in the Ramayana and similar scriptures.

  • Carbon dating techniques, which are now available in India, will be primarily used to determine the age of the sediments.

  • Broadly, the explorers will apply a number of scientific techniques while attempting to date the Ram Setu, study its material composition, outline the sub-surface structure along with attempting to excavate remnants or artifacts.

 

Project plan

  • An initial survey will make use of underwater photographs to check if any habitation remains inundated in the area. A geophysical survey will be performed to understand the structure.

  • Initially, only physical observation, and no drilling, will be done. A scientific survey will be performed to understand the sub-surface structure.

  • The team will mainly comprise seasoned archaeologists, trained in diving, along with scientists to study ocean floors and perform seismic surveys.

  • As the locality around Ram Setu is shallow, with depth not more than 3 to 4 meters beneath water, the scientists will use local boats to ferry along the Setu. This is because large vessels or ships cannot sail at such shallow depths.

 

Ram Setu location

  • Adam's Bridge, also known as Rama's Bridge or Rama Setu, is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.

  • Geological evidence suggests that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. It separates the Gulf of Mannar from the Palk Strait.