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Is Shroud Of Turin World’s First Scan Image?

February 12, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Abdominal Imaging
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Three Italian researchers have a simple explanation for what created the image on the Shroud of Turin: neutron radiation caused by piezonuclear fission reactions triggered when brittle rocks were compressed as a result of an earthquake.

OK, maybe it’s not so simple.

But nothing about the shroud seems simple. Many people believe the linen cloth with the mysterious full-body image of a man is the burial shroud of Jesus. Skeptics got a boost in 1988 when carbon-14 dating indicated the cloth was made between AD 1260 and 1390. Theories abound as to how the image was created, but none have attracted much of a consensus.

Alberto Carpinteri, PhD, thinks he and his colleagues can explain not only what created the image but also how the shroud could be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus, despite the carbon-dating discrepancy:

We believe it is possible that neutron emissions by earthquakes could have induced the image formation on the shroud’s linen fibers through thermal neutron capture on nitrogen nuclei, and could also have caused a wrong radiocarbon dating.

Dr. Carpinteri is lead author of an article propounding the theory. It was published online Tuesday in Meccanica, a journal of theoretical and applied mechanics. He is a professor of structural mechanics at Politecnico di Torino—the Polytechnic University of Turin.

He and his two co-authors, all of whom work in the university’s Department of Structural, Geotechnical, and Building Engineering, suggest that earthquakes recorded around the time of Jesus’s death generated neutron radiation from brittle rocks squeezed by quake-induced pressure waves. The radiation, they say, could have interacted with nitrogen atoms in the linen, producing chemical reactions that generated the image.

Carbon-14 typically forms when neutrons from cosmic rays collide with nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere. So earthquake-related neutron radiation could also have created abnormal ratios of carbon-14.

Live Science ran the theories past a couple of outside experts who weren’t involved in the new study. They reacted dubiously. Gordon Cook, a professor of environmental geochemistry at the University of Glasgow, wondered why no similar images have turned up.

“It would have to be a really local effect not to be measurable elsewhere,” Cook said. “People have been measuring materials of that age for decades now, and nobody has ever encountered this.”

On the other hand, if the new theory is correct, then the Shroud of Turin contains the world’s first radiological image. That would be … amazing.

Related CME seminar (up to 20 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UCSF Practical Body Imaging


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