1st Edition

Geological and Soil Evidence Forensic Applications

By Kenneth Pye Copyright 2007
    360 Pages 8 Color & 130 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    The forensic potential of geological and soil evidence has been recognized for more than a century, but recently these types of evidence are used much more widely as an investigative intelligence tool and as evidence in court. There is, however, still a poor understanding of the potential value and the limitations of geological and soil evidence among the forensic science and wider legal communities.

    Geological and Soil Evidence: Forensic Applications provides an authoritative introduction to the nature and properties of geological and soil materials that may be used as trace evidence and the techniques used to analyze and evaluate them. It emphasizes the use of geoscience in forensic analyses, including geophysical, meteorological, and geomorphological data. This inclusive book covers material types and analytical strategies used in examining both the common components of geological evidence, such as rocks, dusts, minerals, spores, and microfossils, as well as anthropogenic particles like pottery and brick. It instructs on particle characterization based on physical, chemical, and mineralogical traits such as color, shape, density, and elemental and isotopic composition. It also explains sampling and handling procedures particular to criminalistics and introduces analysis, evaluation, and decision-making practices based on statistical significance and the weighing of different types of evidence. Discussions of basic principles are supported and enhanced with numerous case studies that tie methods of analysis to specific forensic applications. Examples are drawn from the author's own experience as well as the wider scientific literature.

    Accessible enough for readers with limited scientific knowledge and informative enough for scientists interested in forensic applications, Geological and Soil Evidence: Forensic Applications is a comprehensive reference for the current knowledge of forensic geology and soil science.

    Introduction: The Nature and Development of Forensic Geology
    The Nature of Forensic Geology and Forensic Soil Science
    Development of the Use of Geological and Soil Materials as Trace Evidence
    Other Types of Geoscience Data Useful in Forensic Investigations

    Types of Geological and Soil Materials That May be Useful as Trace Evidence
    Overview of Material Types and Available Analytical Strategies
    Dusts and Particulates
    Glasses and Other Amorphous Materials
    Anthropogenic Materials

    Bulk Properties of Geological and Soil Materials
    Physical Characteristics
    Chemical Characteristics
    Mineralogical Characteristics
    Bulk Organic Matter Characteristics

    Properties of Individual Particles
    Particle Size
    Particle Shape
    Surface Texture
    Characterization of Particle Morphology Using Fourier Analysis, Fractal Analysis, and Fourier Descriptors
    Three-Dimensional Particle Shape Analysis Using
    X-Ray Tomography and Laser Profilometry
    Luminescence Properties
    Composite Characterization of Particles and Objects
    Elemental Composition
    Isotopic Composition
    Mineralogical Identification and Characterization of Noncrystalline Materials
    Micro-Fabric of Rocks and Soils
    Identification and Characterization of Organic Particles

    Sampling and Sample Handling
    The Nature of Samples and Their Limitations
    General Sampling Guidance
    Sampling Strategies for Control Samples
    Size and Type of Sample
    Sampling Tools and Sample Containers
    Sample Labeling and Associated Information
    Sample Storage
    Questioned Soil Samples from Items Submitted for Forensic Examination

    Evaluation of the Significance of Geological and Soil Evidence
    General Procedures and Principles
    Exploratory Data Analysis
    "Classical" Hypothesis Testing
    Correlation and Regression Analysis
    Multivariate Analysis
    Combined Approaches
    Assessment of Coincidence Probabilities and Likelihood Ratios
    Direct Data Comparison: Deciding If Two Samples are Indistinguishable, Similar, or Different
    Use of Multi-Technique Comparison Data to Determine Exclusion/Include
    Geological and Soil Databases and Database Interrogation
    Evaluation of the Overall Strength of Geological and Soil Evidence
    The Future


    Kenneth Pye

    "This is a thoroughly useful book which did not disappoint me. It will certainly help to provide a platform for better communication. It is well referenced and has a good index to ensure easier navigation through its content. Well worth adding to any serious forensic library!"

    – James Robertson, National Manager, Forensic and Technical, Australian Federal Police, Palgrave, September 2008