Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Mystery of Floating Stones

It is mentioned in the epic Ramayana that Ram Setu was built by the son of Lord Vishwakarma when Lord Rama needed to cross the sea to reach Lanka. The bridge known as Adam's Bridge is said to be built of floating stones. The epic mentions that whenever the name of Lord Rama was written over any stone, it started to float in the sea water.
Some such stones are said to be scattered at Rameswaram during the Tsunami and one of them was brought to Patna to prove the evidence of Rama and the bridge. The proof was given in the form of this video :
Even after watching this video many people won't believe it. And I can understand it. It defies logic and reason. But is it actually so? How can this mystery be explained?
About 4 years back, I was in Rameswaram and in one of the several hundreds of temples, I saw not one, but 12 such stones! They were of various shapes and sizes.
Here is a possible explanation : Before I start, I mention it very clearly that the following explanation, though not verified through thorough experiments, is supported by some of the observations that can be made by watching the video itself and some other experiments I did myself.
Any object when immersed in a liquid would displace some part of the liquid. This is so because when it is immersed in the liquid, it would occupy some of the volume that was earlier occupied by the liquid.
Any object floats in any liquid when the weight of the liquid, displaced by the fraction of the object immersed in the liquid, is equal to the entire weight of the object itself. Thus the fraction of the object immersed in the liquid depends on the relative densities of object and the liquid. For example when ice floats in water, approximately 90% of the volume of ice is immersed in water and only 10% remains outside water.
These stones might be special in the sense that they might be hollow from inside. They may have some air cavities inside them, so that the weight of the water displaced by them is more than their own weight. These air cavities need not be uniformly located inside these stones.
Logic behind the explanation :
I'll mention about the two surfaces of the stone. First surface ( which I'll denote by surface A ) has "Ram Setu Shila" written over it in Hindi in red. The other surface is opposite to this surface ( I'll denote it by surface B).
If we watch the video carefully, we'll notice that the weight of a stone of the size as shown in the video would be definitely more than 15 Kgs. A stone of this size would weigh not less than 30 Kgs. (Assuming the normal density that we observe in most of the commonly found stones). It is highly improbable that the density of the stone material would be lesser than that of water. Another observation that supports this explanation is that the stone shown in the video always floats with surface A exposed to the viewer and the surface B totally immersed in water. This suggests that the stone is not uniformly built and that the stone has higher average density near surface B as compared to the average density near surface A. If it were not so, then the stone would float even with surface A immersed. But it automatically realigns itself so that when it floats, surface B is immersed and surface A is exposed to viewer. ( This conclusion is drawn on the basis of the fact that according to Physics, stone would always float in such a position/configuartion where its potential energy is minimum.)
I did this experiment myself with stones in Rameswaram. All the stones there would also float with one particular surface always immersed in water and the other one always exposed to the viewer.
Thus we can say with reasonable level of confidence that the stones don't have uniform density and that more air cavities must be located near the surface which is exposed to the viewer when the stone floats (surface A in the case of stone of the video.)
I could have verified this theory myself by breaking one of the stones that I found in Rameswaram and looking for air cavities inside the stone. But had I attempted to do so, the temple priests would have broken my head :P

48 comments:

Arun Kumar said...

its a true fact ...??

i thought it was just a myth...
n it has a scientific explanation too...good goin mate...

added your blog to my blog list mate...thanx for addin mine

amitsinha said...

hmm...good logic..but we Indians think and behave differently, thats why many MNC brands fail to understand Indian consumer, my views on the same , through marketing and consumer example

brocasarea said...

quite impressive man[though it had lots of physics!]... so a saying that everything has an explanation is true!!!.....

Viraj said...

thnx for comments people :)

smartyamar said...

Gud Work,i agreed with this Theory... but Viraj tell me do you have the valid Theory or Reason,like why did such stones founded only at the site of Rameshwaram,not anywhere else in our India even in this whole world?? we cant say that its just a co-inccidence,thats it!!..No!!
why such Amazing and unique formation of stones have done only at Rameshwaram site,not anywhere else in this whole world?? Is there any link between epic Ramayana and these stones?? or it might be possible Ramayana was written after founded these stones...?? ofcourse Not!!!
Dont you think there is some reality in the words of epic of Ramayana? the link between such stones and Ramayana? YES!!!
Believe me,there is one Supreme Power,Father of all,...Itz GOD.He is the Biggest & magical engineer. He created everything,everything is Amazing,we can see the beauty of his creation...n left behind valid scientific reasons in all his creations.Isnt he so Smart??? He is the Magical creator of everything...Believe it or Not,but i do Believe him.
in my last words: Its not my question and concern why such stones are Floating,but my Question is why such stones were founded only in Rameshawaram,not anywhere else in this World..???
can anybody answer me of this question......

Comissão de Cooperação do DEE said...

Well smartyamar, certainly there is an explanation why this stones only appear in this corner of the world. Or, perhaps, they do appear anywhere else and we just don’t know about it. In North Ireland you may also find a rock formation that it is unique in the world - The Giant’s Causeway (http://www.northantrim.com/giantscauseway.htm). Now, imagine a stone giving birth to another stone! Amazed ? Just take a look at http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/565431329BJxLvw Arouca is just a hundred kilometres from my hometown. And, yes, this thing has a scientific explanation. As you may see, there are a lot of unique natural phenomena scattered around the world. And, yes, Viraj observations and conclusions seem to be correct.

Mohit Rodeja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hai said...

Very nice explanation. But the geological factor for the PORAL stones(stones that were used to build the bridge found by scientists) to appear from nowhere at that particular place(between Srilanka and India) is not explained.

Geological researchers and Scientist after years of research concluded that in the formation of layers on the ocean bed, these PORAL stones were found within the layers. These rock cannot occur naturally in the sea, they occur only on land/hard surface.

Moreover when they digged down the ocean floor they found Sandstone(3Meters),then Poral rocks and then hard rock so on..

This layer formation is not naturally possible.It is was also found that there was a distinctive straight line pattern (like a bridge) across.

Though ur explanation for the floating of the rock/stones from scientific POV is 100% correct, it is also impossible to deny these facts.

Thanks for sharing ur Wisdom

Jai Sreeman Narayana

Anonymous said...

Uh. Look up Pumice.

Adaiks said...

even if the stone floated, by the above logic. How did people manage to walk on it?? could it withstand the weight of people walking on it also??? Was it not washed away by the water currents??

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Anonymous said...

i believe from the little knowledge i have in biology, it is dried up part of coral reef with calcium deposits and surely lots of air cavities or spaces once used to store food, when it was alive...i believe it is some sort of dried up calcium deposited sponge kind of creature....citation needed!!

Anonymous said...

Use simple scientific logic of archimedes principal:

if the weight of water displaced by the stone is more than the weight of the stone then stone will float.

Just by looking at the video stone's weight is 15kg and I don't think the weight of displaced water is more than 15 kg.

If this is so then IT IS MIRACLE! Jai Shree Ram

Ain'tGotNoName said...

You guys obviously haven't heard of Pumice stones that CAN float on water without having any mythical name written on them....

And they ARE found in places other than INDIA, namely New Zealand..

Look up Pumice in Google & you will see where else they are found.

ashok said...

Even if, I don't think people could walk on it....

ashok said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KRxel0FEkY

mo said...

saw the stones. definitely coral, not pumice. water is probably extremely saline, dense enough to make the rocks float? coral does not naturally float. Alternative is that they were hollowed out then plugged. Real explantion of Rama's land bridge is that it probably dates to about 9,000 years ago when sea level was lower due to expanded ice sheets at poles. Later sea level rise eradicated land bridge requiring "explanation" in folk mythology. Similar land bridges connected asia and alaska, australia and indonesia.

mo said...

saw the stones. definitely coral, not pumice. water is probably extremely saline, dense enough to make the rocks float? coral does not naturally float. Alternative is that they were hollowed out then plugged. Real explantion of Rama's land bridge is that it probably dates to about 9,000 years ago when sea level was lower due to expanded ice sheets at poles. Later sea level rise eradicated land bridge requiring "explanation" in folk mythology. Similar land bridges connected asia and alaska, australia and indonesia.

HARRYY said...

MO,

The date of ramayana cannot be 9,000 years ago.In mahabharata ,there is a mention of rama,which says ramayana happene before mahabharata.And the lost an mystical city of swaraka-the city of kirshna(mentione all over mahabharata) has been discovered and dated as 32,000 years ago.

Anonymous said...

can you please build such a stone considering all your scientific explanation please? To break is easy, to build is difficult!!

Yes of-course this could be a marvel of ancient days scientific knowledge!!!

jack said...

to me i think such stones are special features that God created and leaves behind scientific explanation to deceive ourselves, eg two rivers flow same direction one sweet and other poison but don't mix ,then we borrow vague science, i think because of less density the could not keep below seas.

dinesh said...

Thank you for sharing....

Getniq said...

good explanation...

Pradeep said...

Dear Viraj

Why do you’ve to think so much?

• Just measure the volume of the water displaced
• Weigh the stone
• Compare the weights
• And that’s it!

Man, how do you explain the fact that a Ramasathu stone gets heavier as it’s lifted out of water? It’s weight reduces as it’s immersed more in water.

Buddy, please understand that there’s much more than the Physics we know. We humans aren’t advanced enough to find explanations to the divinity of Lord Rama. If you’ve any differences of opinion, please experiment by weighing the stone and measuring it’s mass and don’t forget to post accurate data rather than vague and misleading information.

Thank you

Pradeep

Pradeep said...

G Mohan Das, a local historian and caretaker of the stones in the temple, said that these stones could have been the kind used to build the bridge mentioned in the epic. "The history of these floating stones is that when Lord Rama made a bridge to trek to Lanka to bring back his consort Sita, these were the same stones used. But today people do not agree to it. They believe it is a coral. We believe there is no difference in these stones. Both the stones do not have air in them. The composition is the same and it has 40 kinds of chemicals," he said. Space images taken by NASA reveal a series of rock outcrops in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. Some historians say these could be the part of the mythological bridge linking Indian peninsula with the Sri Lankan island.

Viraj said...

Pradeep,

The stone gets heavier as it is lifted out of water because the buoyant force on it reduces as it is lifted out of water. Hope that it clears your confusion.

Cheers,
Viraj

Pradeep said...

Dear Viraj

I didn’t mean the linear increase in the force required to lift a stone, as the stone is pulled out of water. I meant the exponential increase in the weight (of a Ramasethu stone), when it’s pulled out of water (I've done this myself). Acceleration due to gravity is a constant. Therefore, the only explanation of this unique phenomenon is that the mass increases (obviously in a manner unexplainable by today’s science) as a Ramasethu stone is pulled out of water.

Buddy, there was a time when people were killed if they claimed that the earth was round! The science then couldn’t prove the claim. But today we’ve technology which proves much more. But please understand that what we know is NOT COMPLETE.
There’s MUCH MORE out there than what we EVEN THINK we know!

Therefore, please encourage research to know the unknown, rather than trying to arrive at conclusions with just what we already know.

Thank you

Pradeep

Anonymous said...

this is the scientific explanation. http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/4575/1/Article2.pdf

Pradeep said...

Dear Anonymous

Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.

They DO NOT float in water.

Just search Google Images to get a picture of what corals and coral reefs are. Neither of them floats. I’ve been at Lakshadweep for over 6 years and have seen and handled dozens of varieties of corals myself. It’s a wonderful tourist location worth paying a visit.

Even Rameshwaram has corals, for that reason. I bet neither you nor anyone else can show me a LIVE or DEAD floating coral. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A FLOATING CORAL IN THIS WORLD.

Coral is calcium carbonate, for the most part of its composition and that's too dense to float.

I simply don’t understand why people are so desperate trying to prove an episode from the Ramayana wrong!

If you’re really so very scientific heros, then try to figure out the technology behind the engineering marvel of Ancient India – the Ramasethu. If it’s really based on floating corals, then why doesn’t it float NOW? Who and how did someone create this solid bridge on the sea bed with “floating corals”..? Wouldn't a SEA BRIDGE with floating corals simply drift away with every wave?? Is it really possible??? Come up with a logical explanation.

Thank you

Pradeep

Pradeep said...

Dear friends

Please understand that Ramasethu is an engineering marvel. They made stones float. If those were corals instead, they’d have clearly mentioned it since there’s a precise word for corals in Sanskrit. If it’s mentioned as stones, then it’s stones and not corals.

The best we can say from a scientific perspective is that technology once existed to make rocks float on water. Furthermore, the engineers (Rama and his men) were so advanced that they could make the concept of a bridge from India to Lanka a reality (of course with the help of a dedicated team of labor force – the Vanaras).

Guys, understand that they did this at a time when humans weren’t fully evolved. Humans were humans only in North India. They were only semi-humans (half monkeys or apes) in South India. If Lord Rama could achieve it with the help of those under-evolved ape-men, it’s it a remarkable achievement?

Look at the human evolutionary time-line and find out for yourself the time period of when these ape-men existed. Therefore, Ramayana dates back to a 100,000 years ago – the period of time when NO OTHER civilization existed in this entire world. And back in those days we had SUCH GREAT technology.

And most of you guys are somehow desperate to disprove it! RIDICULOUS!!

Thank you

Pradeep

Anonymous said...

Dear Pradeep,
It was always Science which could prove that the Earth is round. Infact it were the religious bigots who executed these people. As they felt this new information went against the religious scriptures and was blasphemous.
Science by the very definition gives in to scepticism and believes in logical organization of information (verified again and again through objective observation)
It is only people who are afraid of the truth from coming out, try to reject it summarily without wanting any discussion on it.
Regards
Rajiv

Praful Prasannan said...

why don't you scan the stone and find out whether the stone contains any cavity or whatever you said??? Here you don't have to worry of getting mocked or breaking your head.....

Anonymous said...

Just a simple question. According to mythology, the stones were part of a floating bridge, right? If they are, then they should still float if a person stands on them. Someone should do that and end this debate once and for all.

Sam Tennyson Lee said...

Its good bro
also im a big fan of Rama
so i believed it in godly thinking.

i also suspected that those stones would have air cavities inside them

its a super cool blog

Anonymous said...

This video can explain give a answer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vg9ZTbZJ_Y

amit veerani said...

Dense stones, of course, do not float on water. But because pumice is full of air bubbles, it is less dense than water. So in the beginning it will float. But in time, water will enter the bubbles driving out the air. Slowly, the pumice sinks.


(soo its proves that pumice stone cannot float on water forever.... it only floats for a while)

and ram setu stone can float as long as possible

linsony said...

PRegarding the floating stone in waterm your physic explanation is 99% correct.

you can find floating stone almost anywhere in Indonesia. They are sold as batu apung, and can be found in most traditional maret.

The stone is porous and lightweight. It weighs as light as sponge for the volume. The density is less than wood. So when you immerse it in water, it will simply float.

When the hole is small enough and the stone area is large enough (few cbm), water may not be able to fill the stone entiry therefore driving the air out of it the stone will float forever.

Drop by my website and chat me if you wanted to see the video. I will upload one then :)

Anonymous said...

On my way back from rameshwaram, floating stones are for real.... Still not sure about the theory behind it.... I meant scientific of course... But all the best finding that... Anyways I heard from one of the locals that the stones only floats in sea water and not in regular water.... Not sure if it'll help... Just an FYI

Capt. H. R said...

Just search for Floating Stone on google - Pumice (that is usually found in beauty & skin care products or foot scrubbing stones) is a low density volcanic rock that has many air bubbles, air pockets that are trapped inside. Like Viraj mentioned, similar to an IceBerg, about 10% of the stone remains out of the water. Even icebergs will always float with the lighter / lower density side up & will never float on its side or upside down. Simple experiments to support the above, buy a Foot Scrubbing block / stone (Pumice stone) from any beauty parlour or supermarket & drop it into a bucket or water. Or take an ice cube from your fridge drop it into a glass. mark the side that floats & then try to turn it to make it float on any other side.

Divyesh said...

I think its natural. I dosent mean that its scientific too. But we can't challenge nature and I think that's its a myth because it can't be scientific . Even I don't belive in this so much but it can't be scientific. This can be natural and we can't take this as scientific.

Anonymous said...

Beliefs and science are opposite to each other. Belief does not require evidence and theories. But your theory is a good explanation of the phenomena. Carry on and let us know the results.

rashi said...

There is fact too but god is beyond all of our thoughts becoz he knows all why not he knows scientific secret toombit know one can prove this ramam bridgs fact clearly..so god is beyond all and plz trust him.

SoWmY@ rEdDy said...

I like the logic behind it, but why are those stones not floating now, why they got immersed in the sea now.

meet yadav said...

my friend it good to be logical
but many university and scientist checked these stone they were not hollow or having air cavity.
why we forget we #indian are the master of science in past, discovered many unbelievable things .

our main problem is we forgot our past and unable to keep our historical heritage
look this way
our past----->forget our past------->new age--------foreigner searching our past with fact------ now we think this is new invention.


search our past we will find many things and technology

enmar said...

Haven't you guys heard of pumice and scoria. Both of these are volcanic rocks with millions of air cavities, due to which they tend to float. Btw correctly explained.

Saatyaki S / o Seshendra Sharma said...

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Randeep Channey said...

Bro u can found this stones at juwalamukhi
U can see tha air inside the stones

Anonymous said...

If you are so confirmed about the science behind this fact then why can't scientist study about that stone...take one of them and study whether it's hollow or not???? ��