(NEWSER) - It's been a long-running debate: Is the Shroud of Turin a fake?
A new entrant in the "no" category emerges from the pages of the journal Meccanica, where Italian researchers suggest that an 8.2-magnitude earthquake that rocked Jerusalem in 33AD both formed the image and distorted the results of radiocarbon dating that was done on the shroud in 1988, which indicated it was just 728 years old.
The Telegraph reports that scientists have previously floated neutron radiation as the way the shroud, said to be the burial cloth of Jesus, came to purportedly bear his image; similarly, Heritage Daily reports neutron radiation has been suggested as interfering with the dating of the shroud. But no legitimate source of such radiation had been identified.
But Professor Alberto Carpinteri's research into piezonuclear fission reactions has led him to believe the earthquake would have produced high-frequency pressure waves in the Earth's crust that would have caused those neutrons to be emitted; the particles then "induced the image formation on the Shroud's linen fibers" by interacting with the nitrogen atoms in the fabric, explains Carpinteri. Further, he says the radiation would have raised the shroud's level of carbon-14 isotopes, giving it an artificially youthful age when carbon-14 dating was done on it.
But skeptics abound, reports LiveScience. Asks one, why is "the material here ... affected, but other archaeological and geological material in the ground is not?
More stories on the Turin Shroud, including a story on Hitler's obsession with it, can be found on Newser, a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage from around the Web. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.