Known for a famous Shakti Pitha of Odisha, the
Bhagabati temple of Banapur in the district of
Khurda is situated nearly 100 km away from the
state capital Bhubaneswar. Many people used to
throng the shrine for the fulfillment of their
cherished wishes and to seek blessings from
the deity. They are amazed to see the magical prowess
of the deity in realizing their dreams come true.
They are also no less amazed to find a strange
piece of stone floating in a tank of water in the
Goddess Lakshmi temple situated within the same
premises.
It was believed that the Banapur stone
might be one of such Ram Setu stones.On close examination of the stone of
Banapur, it was found to be porous and
punctuated by numerous holes occupied by air.
Hence, the Volume of the stone is greatly
increased compared to its Mass.
According to
Archimedes' Law for Floatation of bodies, a body
will float in water if the Weight of the liquid
displaced by the body (the upward thrust due to
Buoyancy) is equal or more compared to its own
Weight (the downward Force due to gravity).
The Banapur stone being spongy,
its
Volume is more compared to a normal stone of
the same weight, and hence, it displaces more
water. This leads to contribution of more upward
buoyant Force that overcomes the Weight of the
body to keep it floating.
The law governing the floatation of bodies
also states that
the density of a floating body must
be equal to or lower than the density of water.
Although the density of the pure rock alone that makes up the stone is more than the density of
water (1 g/c.c.), the average density of the stone,
however, should be less than the density of
water as we have to take into account of the density of
air present within the holes that make up the stone.
This explains the floatation of the Banapur stone
from density standpoint also.However, there are some evidences to
debunk the Pumice Stone theory. First, there is
no
volcano nearby Rameswaram. Secondly,
floating stones of Rameshwaram are not as light
as the normal pumice stones and doesn’t have
the chemical composition similar to actual pumice
rocks.
Modern View
X-ray studies at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of
Energy have helped scientists to solve the mystery as to how Pumice is able to float in water for a long time unlike a water-soaked sponge that quickly sinks in
water. It was originally thought that the pores of pumice are sealed from outside disallowing water to enter into it. However, pumice pores are found to be actually largely open and connected network of clear channels. Researchers found that the gas-trapping processes in pumice
stones are related to Surface Tension, a phenomenon exhibited only at the surface of a liquid that behaves like a skin allowing certain aquatic creatures to walk on water. To understand what’s at work inside the pumice, the team used wax to coat bits of water exposed pumice
sampled from Medicine Lake volcano near Mount Shasta in Northern California and Santa María volcano in Guatemala. They then used an X-ray imaging technique known as Micro-tomography to measure accurately the concentrations of water and gas present within the pumice samples.
The scientists conclude that water fills up only some portion of the pore space. The water surrounds and traps gases in the pumice forming bubbles that make the stones buoyant. Surface Tension serves to keep these bubbles locked inside for prolonged periods.The researchers have
also developed a formula for predicting how long typical pumice stone will float based on its size. Hence, the mystery of the floating stones
of Banapur (and Rameswaram) continues and poses to be an ever enchanting subject for researchers in the days to come.

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More from @Ugrabhatah

8 Apr
Ramsetu took 5 days to build by 10 million monkeys under the architects Neel and Nal. The age and structure of Ramsetu depict that it is around 1.7 million years old. It is believed that Ramsetu is made up of limestone shoals. The size of the bridge is 30km long and 3km wide.
The Ramsetu Bridge begins from Dhanushkodi tip of India’s Pamban Island and ends at Srilanka Mannar Island. The sea in this area is very deep.The role of Nal appeared here, on his part, he initiated a monumental bridge in the middle of the ocean.
Some monkeys were holding poles and other’s collected material. The team of Rama worked faster as there were hundreds of monkey’s who brought logs, mountains which helped in the making of a bridge .On 1st day 14 yojanas of a bridge were constructed and on 2nd day 20 yojanas of a
Read 11 tweets
8 Apr
Also known as Adam’s bridge, Ram Setu is a 48-km long bridge-like structure between India and Sri Lanka.
It finds mention in the Ramayana but little about its formation is known or proven, scientifically.
The National Institute of Oceanography (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.
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 artefacts, if any, from the site.
Once it is known, the information can be verified and co-related with its mention in the Ramayana and similar scriptures.
Read 11 tweets

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