ISRO successfully maps submerged ‘Ram Setu’ using US satellite laser beams

In a groundbreaking achievement, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully mapped the submerged structure of Adam’s Bridge, also known as Ram Setu.

Utilizing data from the ICESat-2 satellite collected between October 2018 and October 2023, researchers have produced a detailed 10-meter resolution map, revealing the entire length of the underwater bridge.

The surveying exercise employed a US satellite to reflect laser beams off the sea floor, demonstrating that 99.98 per cent of Ram Setu, a 29-kilometer stretch of limestone shoals, is buried in shallow waters. This research is the first to provide precise details about the underwater sections of Adam’s Bridge, stretching from Dhanushkodi in India to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka.

Led by ISRO scientist Giribabu Dandabathula, the research team identified 11 narrow passages essential for water flow between the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar, crucial for preserving the bridge from sea waves. The ancient structure, mentioned in Indian religious texts as Ram Setu, has been confirmed through high-resolution mapping facilitated by advanced laser technology onboard a US satellite, according to a report published in the Scientific Reports journal.

Historically, Adam’s Bridge served as a land bridge connecting Sri Lanka and India, detailed in the epic Ramayana as constructed by Lord Rama’s army to facilitate his journey to rescue Sita in Ravana’s kingdom. Named Adam’s Bridge by a cartographer for the East India Company, the structure has been referenced as Sethu Bandhai (“bridge over the sea”) by Persian navigators in the ninth century AD. Temple records from Rameswaram indicate that the bridge remained above sea level until 1480, when it was significantly damaged by a powerful storm.

Earlier satellite observations hinted at the presence of an underwater structure, but this recent mapping effort has provided unprecedented insights into the submerged portions of the bridge. The shallow sea depths, ranging from one to ten meters, pose challenges for navigation and exploration in the area.

ISRO’s achievement not only enhances understanding of the region’s history but also sheds new light on the engineering marvel and cultural significance of Adam’s Bridge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *