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Gyanvapi Case: What is carbon dating, how is it used

Gyanvapi case of Varanasi is in the headlines. The district court there will pronounce its verdict on October 14 on a petition seeking carbon dating of an alleged ‘Shivling’. It is claimed that the ‘Shivling’ has been found in the Gyanvapi mosque complex. In the petition, there has been a demand for carbon dating and scientific investigation of ‘Shivling’. There is also a demand that the Shivling should not be harmed in any way during the investigation. The purpose of the petition is to know whether the structure is a fountain or a Shivling. Because the matter is related to science and carbon dating is the main aspect of it, so we should know what is carbon dating.

Carbon dating is the process by which the age of trees, skin, hair, skeleton, etc. can be found out. The approximate age of everything that contains organic remains can be determined by carbon dating. There are 3 isotopes of carbon in our environment. These are carbon-12 (carbon dioxide), carbon-13 and carbon-14. To find out the age of an object, carbon-14 is needed.

However, it is not used to determine the age of rocks or stones. Carbon dating only works for rocks that are less than 50,000 years old. By the way, there are other methods with the help of which the age of rocks can be ascertained.

Carbon dating plays an important role in understanding the process of evolution of different species, including the history of objects that have existed over the centuries. A prerequisite for carbon dating is that it can only be applied to matter that was once alive or could absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon dating is the most widely used method by archaeologists and paleontologists around the world to estimate the age of objects.

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This technique of determining age was invented in 1949 by Williard Libby of the University of Chicago. For this he was also awarded the Nobel Prize in 1960. However, now all eyes are on the court’s decision. If carbon dating is allowed on October 14, it will be interesting to see what and how the researchers discover the age of the alleged Shivalinga from the object.


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