Neutron radiation caused by 33 A.D. earthquake could have led to "wrong" 1988 radiocarbon dating of Shroud, suggest researchers.

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 radiocarbon dating 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.