"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," said Professor Alberto Carpinteri, from the Politecnico di Torino.
The Shroud has attracted widespread interest ever since Secondo Pia took the first photograph of it in 1898 which showed details which could not be seen by the naked eye.
She met John while pursuing her interest in the shroud.
Mark Antonacci, a leading expert on the Shroud and president of the Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation, is currently petitioning Pope Francis to allow molecular analysis of the cloth using the latest technology.
It is hoped that such an investigation will be able to confirm or rule out the radiation theory.
Some have proposed that it came from the body itself, or was generated by an event inside the tomb, pointing to a divine origin linked to the resurrection.
The new theory is published in the journal Meccanica.
However, no plausible explanation has been offered for the source of the radiation.