A district court in Varanasi allowed a petition seeking carbon dating of the structure inside the Gyanvapi mosque that the Hindu side has claimed is a ‘Shivling’.
- Carbon dating is a widely-used method applied to establish the age of organic material, things that were once living.
- Living things have carbon in them in various forms.
- The dating method makes use of the fact that a particular isotope of carbon called C-14, with an atomic mass of 14, is radioactive, and decays at a rate that is well known.
- Carbon-14 is radioactive and reduces to one-half of itself in about 5,730 years.
- This is what is known as its ‘half-life’.
- Because plants and animals get their carbon from the atmosphere, they too acquire carbon-12 and carbon-14 isotopes in roughly the same proportion as is available in the atmosphere.
- So, after a plant or animal dies, the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the body, or its remains, begins to change.
- This change can be measured and can be used to deduce the approximate time when the organism died.