Aftershock of the Maybe-An-Earthquake-Did-It Earthquake

I’m with Barrie on this: you should read The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects,
Aging  & Image Formation
by Ray Rogers. Then decide.

imageFor whatever reason, the recent Maybe-An-Earthquake-Did-It proposal to explain the making of the image and a possible error in the carbon 14 dating of the shroud, awakened an otherwise sleepy news media.  Megan Gannon’s syndicated story in LiveScience, Shroud of Turin: Could Ancient Earthquake Explain Face of Jesus? captured prominent headline placement at Yahoo News. The Telegraph, USA Today, Fox News, the Huffington Post and the Christian Post, for whatever reason, gave the story plenty of ink. Some of the earliest coverage, such as that appearing in The Telegraph, was amateurish yet effective (see Breaking News: Another Day, Another Solution to the Image and the Carbon Dating in this blog two days ago).

However, do notice, most top shelf news outlets are ignoring the story. Dip into the archives and you will discover that the earthquake idea and the radiation idea is old news. Read the paper, Is the Shroud of Turin In Relation to the Old Jerusalem Historical Earthquake? in Meccanica and you’ll find little that is new or anything, really, that rises above the level of speculation.

Nonetheless, traffic on this blog exploded yesterday. My inbox filled up quickly. Barrie Schwortz at STERA, in part due to mail volumes, was prompted to post a special update to  Frankly, from what I have seen so far, I think the story has gotten attention out of all proportions to its real significance. I doubt it has much traction. But we will see.

Here is what Barrie wrote on

Once again, the Shroud of Turin is in the news, this time because of a new paper titled, Is the Shroud of Turin In Relation to the Old Jerusalem Historical Earthquake? just published in the journal Meccanica. Authored by A. Carpinteri, G. Lacidogna and O. Borla, the paper asserts that neutron radiation generated by a major earthquake could have been responsible for the Shroud’s image and could have also modified the cloth in a manner that might have skewed the results of the radiocarbon dating. It has long been our policy not to comment on news releases until the claims they make can be properly evaluated by qualified experts in the related disciplines. However, due to the volume of mail we have been receiving and the fact that the entire paper is readily available online, we decided to make a brief comment on the paper until a more in-depth review can be written by an expert in the field and published in our next regular update.

We should first point out that the idea of radiation creating the image on the Shroud or skewing the radiocarbon dating is not a new one. Over the past few decades it has been proposed by a number of Shroud scholars, including Dr. Jean-Baptiste Rinaudo and Mark Antonacci. After reading the article carefully (and reminding you that this is far from my area of expertise), the only apparent new information it includes is the possibility that the proposed neutron radiation was produced as a by-product of a major earthquake. The authors also provide references to credible evidence that such events can and do occur. However, the issue of radiation and the Shroud was addressed in an article titled, The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects, Aging & Image Formation, written by Ray Rogers just before his death and published on posthumously in 2005. Rogers was a chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the head of STURP’s chemistry group and an expert in the effects of radiation on a wide variety of materials. He based his conclusions on examining and comparing a number of irradiated flax samples, including actual fibers of the Shroud. Once again, you will have to read the materials and decide how significant they are for yourself. We hope to have more information on this in our next update.

14 thoughts on “Aftershock of the Maybe-An-Earthquake-Did-It Earthquake”

  1. I strongly advise you to accept my past words about the AFM controls
    on irradiated linen fibrils (…. with SSNDT [exposed in parallel] as witness
    materials in order to publish an interesting study) …
    Prof. Alberto Carpinteri is the Editor in Chief of Meccanica and he is an expert in Building Science.
    B.T.W. :
    Do you remember my indications about Structural Mechanics and
    AFM three-point bending test ?
    Well …
    I think that prof. Carpinteri (= an expert in the field of Structural Mechanics !)
    will be happy to receive the adequate answer … because linen fibrils
    can be properly evaluated by qualified experts
    using AFM techniques, etc. (see also : Raman analysis techniques).

  2. Quote from Barrie: “the only apparent new information it includes is the possibility that the proposed neutron radiation was produced as a by-product of a major earthquake.”

    Question about that: Wasn’t the same hypothesis that was proposed by Giovanna De Liso in 2010 at the Shroud workshop in Frascati, Italy? (here’s the link for her paper:

    If it deal with the same sort of hypothesis, then Barrie, I think we can say that there’s really nothing new under the sun… By the way, I’ve read the paper of De Liso last year and wasn’t impress at all by the kind of result she got versus the reality of the color that composed the Shroud image. In my mind, it was far from being a close match…

  3. The Quebecois Yanonymous is way off the beam with his comments about De Liso’s paper. That he wasn’t impressed by the paper says more about his close-mindness to worthwhile experimental ideas than it does about De Liso’s paper. If he paid as much attention to the distinctions between the Carpenteri paper and de Liso’s 12 years of experiments, that he gives to academics and his other heroes, he might come to realise that most physicists would ascribe a particulate mass to the neutrons mentioned by Carpenteri, whereas Radon gas, which De Liso claimed was an essential factor in obtaining her images emits gamma radiation, essentially an electro-magnetic wave with only a notional mass at the quantum level of h.(nu)/c^2, an entirely different matter. de Liso nowhere mentions neutrons! How many experiments towards an understanding of the Shroud image has Yanonymous ever attempted?

    1. Hey De Liso’s fanatic, you know what Rogers would have done with such a paper? Crush it into pieces… Something can produce a coloration on linen that can look like the Shroud but if that doesn’t reproduce exactly all the known chemical and physical characteristics of the image, that’s irrelevant… Rogers was damn clear about the fact that the Shroud image WAS NOT the product of any high energetic radiation and Fazio and Mandaglio independently confirmed this conclusion. That’s enough for me to understand we should look elsewhere for a viable solution to the Shroud image.

      Last thing: I’m not Yannick. Is it possible for you to stop looking at the same of the person who write a comment and concentrate on the comment itself?

    2. Last thing I want to say: You have all the right to believe that De Liso’s weak hypothesis can be relevant to the Shroud. That’s your freedom. But I also have one and mine say to me: look elsewhere!

  4. Just a question from someone just starting to study the shroud.

    There are two claims I’ve seen related to the earthquake theory.
    1) That it possibly messes up C14 content which could lead to incorrect dating, and
    2) That the emissions possibly created the image on the cloth.

    These two claims need not both be correct. And temporarily granting 1, that still leaves me with a question:

    For claim 2), how was this seriously proposed given the back and front of the shroud show frontal and dorsal images?

  5. Hi Justin.
    There is some dispute as to how clear the image on the back of the shroud is, or even if it is really there at all. Judge for yourself at
    However, assuming such an image exists, Giulio Fanti thinks it corresponds quite well to experiments involving coronal discharge (see His (and other) explanations for this are somewhat sketchy, but seem to depend on the idea that the cloth/air interface is significant, while the thickness of the cloth itself is not. Presumably the neutron or proton bombardment hypothesis would suggest that the energy of these particles would be absorbed quickest at the cloth/air interface too, and thus mark only the surfaces of the cloth.
    Other explanations could invoke the purely surface deposition of a sensitive chemical due to evaporation gradients, which could then be preferentially affected by whatever agent is hypothesised.

    1. Quote: “However, assuming such an image exists, Giulio Fanti thinks it corresponds quite well to experiments involving coronal discharge (see”

      Comment: Fanti or another fan of the high-energetic discharge hypothesis should give us also a rational explanation for why, if their hypothesis is correct, there would only be an image of the hair (and maybe a few other facial features) on the backside of the Shroud, while there would not be anything for other parts that are almost as dark on the frontside of the Shroud (like the chest or the thighs for example). Seriously, this kind of wild explanation (“somewhat sketchy” to say the least) is ludicrous and show you another very good example of how poor a scientist Fanti really is…

      And above all this, I should say that Fanti’s claim about the presence of a possible second image on the backside of the Shroud has been done in very poor scientific conditions (while using bad photos for image analysis) and has also been completely dismiss by the Turin Centro whos members have had the opportunity (unlike Fanti) to examine the backside of the Shroud up close and personal in 2002… For all those reason, I think we should consider the conclusion of the Centro as being the correct one, unless a new series of direct researches on the cloth should confirmed (beyond all reason) the claims of Fanti.

      1. Additional comment: And if Fanti’s claim about the presence of a second image should be independently confirmed one day, it is pretty evident that his corona discharge hypothesis will not be the one who would stand on top of the list of the possible explanation for such a bizarre feature. For example, Rogers’ own proposal of explanation was much more rational in my mind.

    2. Hi Hugh, thanks for the response. I think I may have misspoke. I was referring to the image of the back of the man on the shroud. It seems like if the source of the image was from below the body, as it presumably would have been if it stemmed from crushing rock during an earthquake, that you would not get an image of the back of the man, but only the front of the man. That assumes the man was laying face up, of course. Does that make more sense?

      1. Yes it does. And you make a very valid point. As I said above, Giulio Fanti’s explanation for his coronal discharge theory, and by extension any explanation for the earthquake proton/neutron emission theory, are vague as to specific details. While Fanti thinks he can see a ventral image on the outside of the cloth, he says there isn’t a dorsal image, which means he rejects an image formation process at the rock/cloth interface. The X-ray style ‘neutron imaging’ hypothesis also loses credibility at this point, and even Rogers’s chemical reaction / evaporation gradient hypothesis is weak here.

        The general idea, I suppose, is that the image was formed at material interfaces, namely (from the bottom up) rock/cloth, cloth/body, body/coth and cloth/air. However each of these has problems of its own, and should not necessarily by grouped together and explained in the same way. People who have recognised this, such as Jackson and Piczek, think that both body and cloth were floating in the air.

      2. Quote: “It seems like if the source of the image was from below the body, as it presumably would have been if it stemmed from crushing rock during an earthquake, that you would not get an image of the back of the man, but only the front of the man.”

        Comment: How sweat it is to see someone using good old logic to discard a wild hypothesis about the Shroud! BRAVO AND KEEP ON RELYING ON RATIONAL THINKING INSTEAD OF RELIGIOUSLY BASED IMAGINATION…

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