Is an earthquake behind carbon dating of Shroud of Turin image?

February 11, 2014 by Joan Robinson

( —An earthquake in Old Jerusalem might be behind the famous image of the Shroud of Turin, says a group of researchers led by Alberto Carpinteri of the Politecnico di Torino in Italy in an article published in Springer's journal Meccanica. They believe that neutron radiation caused by an earthquake could have induced the image of a crucified man – which many people believe to be that of Jesus – onto the length of linen cloth, and caused carbon-14 dating done on it in 1988 to be wrong.

The Shroud has attracted widespread interest ever since Secondo Pia took the first photograph of it in 1898: about whether it is Jesus' purported burial cloth, how old it might be, and how the image was created. According to done in 1988, the cloth was only 728 years old at the time. Other researchers have since suggested that the shroud is much older and that the dating process was incorrect because of neutron radiation – a process which is the result of nuclear fusion or nuclear fission during which free neutrons are released from atoms – and its interaction with the nuclei of other atoms to form new carbon isotopes.

However, no plausible physical reason has yet been proposed to explain the origin of this neutron radiation. Now Carpinteri's team, through mechanical and chemical experimentation, hypothesizes that high-frequency pressure waves generated in the Earth's crust during earthquakes are the source of such neutron emissions. This is based on their research into piezonuclear fission reactions, which are triggered when very brittle rock specimens are crushed under a press machine. In the process, neutrons are produced without gamma emissions. Analogously, the researchers theorize further that neutron flux increments, in correspondence to seismic activity, should be a result of the same reactions.

The researchers therefore believe that neutron emission from a historical earthquake in 33 A.D. in Old Jerusalem, which measured 8.2 on the Richter Scale, could have been strong enough to cause neutron imaging through its interaction with nitrogen nuclei. On the one hand, this could have created the distinctive image on the Shroud through radiation imagery, while on the other, it could have increased the level of carbon-14 isotopes found on the linen fibres that could have confused the 1988 radiocarbon dating tests.

"We believe it is possible that neutron emissions by earthquakes could have induced the image formation on the Shroud's linen fibres, through thermal neutron capture on nitrogen nuclei, and could also have caused a wrong radiocarbon dating," hypothesizes Carpinteri.

Explore further: Age test of Shroud of Turin planned

More information: Carpinteri, A. et al (2014). Is the Shroud of Turin in relation to the Old Jerusalem historical earthquake? Meccanica DOI: 10.1007/s11012-013-9865-x

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4.3 / 5 (13) Feb 11, 2014
They already have an answer they want. They'll keep trying different questions until they get it.
5 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2014
Sooo.. resurrection causes earthquakes?
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 11, 2014
That sounds like pretty desperate science-raping by religious fanatics.
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2014
If one starts with the assumption that something is impossible, than any evidence for that thing to have occurred is ignored of explained away. I believe that this hypotheses is a very good example of that trend to the pitch of reductio ad absurdum.
4 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2014
How to Save A Fake™: take a group of religious fanatics, let them stranglehold science and spin fast until science is thoroughly screwed, publish rape in vanity science press.
Lex Talonis
1.9 / 5 (8) Feb 11, 2014
The shroud of turin?

Oh fuck no....

It's a picture of me from one of my time and intergalactic travel trips - when I wanted to pick up a nice tan and went a bit close to the sun...

You see covering myself in unicorn shit, makes for a very good sun screen, only it tends to leave a"shitty sacred image" in the fabric, which shitty religious people can declare to be holy relics and a great boon for their income and the local tourist industry.

So after I descended from heaven - or dropped out of orbit, I gave my celestial sauna suit to the local monks, who being a shrewd pack of scheming bastards, said, "It looks like Jeezers - eh we can tell them it's his burial cloth and make a good earner out of it."

And they did.

So as to the relative gayness of Jeezers and his 12 boyfriends - this shroud is of no help, as it's a picture of me covered in unicorn shit and Jeeeezers and I rarely cohabitate the same body at the same time - what with him cruising the gay bars trying to love all men.
4.9 / 5 (7) Feb 11, 2014
Assuming that this argument is taken at face value, a quick determination could be made by looking for anything in Old Jerusalem or the surrounding area that has a radiocarbon dating significantly older than the shroud.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that probably there are such objects.

That would bring up the claim that some objects were better protected than others from tne neutron radiation. The only real natural protection from neutron radiation is light elements, particularly water, being high in hydrogen. The water table in Jerusalem is, and has been historically, about 75m deep. That should provide fairly even protection.

Historical information based on the fact there is a limestone cave under Jerusalem that was carved out by water, is 75m deep in the earth, has a standing water line, and happens to be the largest freshwater source in Israel.
4.5 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2014
Ah, thank you rkolter. I was looking for a useful comment.
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2014
"Sooo.. resurrection causes earthquakes?"

No. Earthquakes cause resurrection. The dead are the first to hear them coming and flee for their lives.
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2014
Sooo.. resurrection causes earthquakes?
Hey you bet.

"50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus' resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" matt27

Its kind of like an EM phenomenon where the initial event causes the EQ, which wakes up more dead people, which causes aftershocks, etc etc
5 / 5 (5) Feb 12, 2014
Any neutron flux that could print a garment would kill everyone in Jerusalem
1 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2014
I'm sorry, I verified that in the article the authors not cited G. Imbalzano, whose international publications founded on the severe analysis of photo of the shroud (also in my possession) shows the existence of a providential intervention not only of seismic phenomenona but also of a supernova (cited by chineses) that has modified the C14 percentage in the flax of the shroud, and all this with the comforted of the sacred texts. But the glory of this world passes. Prof. Giovanni Imbalzano, Turin physicist and expert sindonologo.
4 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2014
Its kind of like an EM phenomenon where the initial event causes the EQ, which wakes up more dead people, which causes aftershocks, etc etc

But only "good" dead people, right? Otherwise we'd be waist deep in zombies, chasing after our brains.

How does this mesh with your understanding of the resurrections, as depicted in Revelations? Inconsistencies? You're broaching areas that aren't science.
3 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2014
But only "good" dead people, right?
Only the good die young. We are all sinners in the eyes of god. These are 2 quotes that occur to me.
Otherwise we'd be waist deep in zombies, chasing after our brains.
Zombies were invented by voodoo religionists. Do THEY consider zombies bad?

But resurrection was fairly common with Jesus and the apostles. As hitchens said, somewhat of a banality.

"...the daughter of Jairus shortly after death, a young man in the midst of his own funeral procession, and Lazarus, who had been buried for four days... Peter allegedly raised a woman named Dorcas (called Tabitha), and Paul the Apostle revived a man named Eutychus who had fallen asleep and fell from a window to his death, according to the book of Acts. Proceeding the apostolic era, many saints were said to resurrect the dead, as recorded in Orthodox Christian hagiographies."

-Jesus only raised the dead and cured the sick for an audience. He could have cured all lepers - why didn't he?
4 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2014
But only "good" dead people, right?
Only the good die young. We are all sinners in the eyes of god. These are 2 quotes that occur to me.
Otherwise we'd be waist deep in zombies, chasing after our brains.
Zombies were invented by voodoo religionists. Do THEY consider zombies bad?

If you're going to go there - then zombies aren't actually dead, just very deeply intoxicated.

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