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Geoforensics

ISBN: 978-0-470-05734-6
340 pages
October 2008
Geoforensics (0470057343) cover image
This book is a comprehensive introduction to the application of geoscience to criminal investigations. Clearly structured throughout, the text follows a path from the large-scale application of remote sensing, landforms and geophysics in the first half to the increasingly small-scale examination of rock and soils to trace amounts of material. The two scales of investigation are linked by geoscience applications to forensics that can be applied at a range of dimensions. These include the use of topographic mapping, x-ray imaging, geophysics and remote sensing in assessing whether sediment, rocks or concrete may have hidden or buried materials inside for example, drugs, weapons, bodies. 

This book describes the wider application of many different geoscience-based methods in assisting law enforcers with investigations such as international and national crimes of genocide and pollution, terrorism and domestic crime as well as accident investigation. The text makes a clear link to the increasingly important aspects of the spatial distribution of geoscience materials (be it soil sampling or the distribution of mud-spatter on clothing), Geographic Information Science and geostatistics. 

  • A comprehensive introduction to the application of geoscience to criminal investigation
  • Examples taken from an environmental and humanitarian perspective in addition to the terrorist and domestic criminal cases more regularly discussed
  • A chapter on the use of GIS in criminalistics and information on unusual applications and methods - for example underwater scene mapping and extraterrestrial applications
  • Material on how geoscience methods and applications are used at a crime scene
  • Accompanying website including key images and references to further material 
  • An invaluable text for both undergraduate and postgraduate students taking general forensic science degrees or geoscience courses 

"The whole book is peppered with useful and appropriate examples from the authors’ wide experiences and also from the wider literature... an essential purchase for any forensic science department as well as for any law enforcement organisation."  Lorna Dawson, Macaulay Institute

 

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Acknowledgements.

Preamble.

1. Background to the work, organization of the text and history of research.

1.1 The scene.

1.2 The victim and materials.

1.3 The suspect.

1.4 The scope of geoforensics.

2. Physical geography, geomorphology, landform interpretation, archaeology, stratigraphy and hydrodynamics.

2.1 Physical geography.

2.2 Atmosphere.

2.3 Types of landscapes, landscape change and human influences on the landscape (short and long term).

2.4 Soils.

2.5 Hydrodynamics of rivers, lakes, estuaries, seas and oceans.

2.6 Geography, geomorphology, geological and soil maps, and other resources.

2.7 Groundwater.

3. Geophysics.

3.1 Seismic methods: macro to micro.

3.2 Gravity/gravimetrics.

3.3 Electrical.

3.4 Magnetic and electromagnetic.

3.5 Ground-penetrating radar (GPR).

3.6 Radiometrics.

3.7 Review of why some methods are favoured and others not.

4. Remote sensing.

4.1 Definitions.

4.2 Conventional aerial photography: rural and urban examples.

4.3 Geoscience use of light photography.

4.4 Infrared photography.

4.5 Elevation modelling.

4.6 Photogrammetry.

4.7 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and interferometry.

4.8 Multispectral and thermal imaging.

4.9 Hyperspectral imaging.

4.10 Satellite mapping.

4.11 Long-distance LIDAR (satellite, aerial).

4.12 Laser scanning of scenes and objects.

4.13 X-ray imagery, X-ray tomography and neutron activation.

4.14 Field Portable X-ray Fluorescence (FPXRF) spectrometry.

4.15 Some conjecture on the future of remote sensing applications.

5. Spatial location and geographic information science.

5.1 Geographic location and crime.

5.2 Spatial data and GIS.

5.3 Spatial analysis within GIS.

5.4 Use of Google Earth in criminal investigations.

6. Scale, sampling and geostatistics.

6.1 Scale and spatial resolution.

6.2 Sampling for geological materials at urban and non-urban crime scenes.

6.3 Timing of the crime.

6.4 Sample size.

6.5 Lateral variation.

6.6 Use and misuse of statistics in forensic studies.

6.7 Statistical sampling.

6.8 Number of samples required for robust statistical analysis.

6.9 Comparing ‘like with like’.

6.10 Addressing the issue of comparing related material.

6.11 Spatial and temporal variability in nature.

6.12 Spatial awareness and use of spatial statistics: application of geostatistics.

6.13 Geostatistical techniques.

6.14 GIS and geostatistics.

7. Conventional geological analysis.

7.1 Elementary analysis of rocks 185.

7.2 Hand-specimen analysis case studies from Murray and Tedrow (1991).

7.3 Sediment analysis.

7.4 Fossils and microfossils.

7.5 A paradigm shift in geoforensics?

8. Trace evidence.

8.1 What is geological trace evidence?

8.2 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).

8.3 Laser Raman spectroscopy.

8.4 Inductively-coupled plasma spectroscopy.

8.5 Isotope analysis.

8.6 X-ray diffraction and trace evidence.

8.7 Manufactured or processed materials that geoscience techniques can analyse.

8.8 Some conjecture on the future of trace evidence.

9. The search for buried materials.

9.1 Introduction.

9.2 Possible methodologies for non-urban underground searches.

9.3 Underwater searches and scene mapping (remote sensing, geophysics).

9.4 Gas monitoring, organic remains and the decomposition of bodies.

9.5 Weird and wonderful burial locations.

10. Circuit complete.

Appendix 1. Search methods.

Appendix 2. Soil sampling.

A.1 Sampling protocol suggestions.

References.

Index.

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  • A comprehensive introduction to the application of geoscience to criminal investigation
  • Examples taken from an environmental and humanitarian perspective in addition to the terrorist and domestic criminal cases more regularly discussed
  • A chapter on the use of GIS in criminalistics and information on unusual applications and methods - for example underwater scene mapping and extraterrestrial applications
  • Material on how geoscience methods and applications are used at a crime scene
  • Accompanying website including key images and references to further material
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"The book is an excellent source of information on the applied aspect of Earth sciences.  In my opinion, the book is worth reading, especially for those who are professional geologists, geographers or geophysicists.  They may be surprised by the new, sometimes amazing applications of the methodology of their well-known disciplines." (Geologos, November 2010)

"A good contribution to the development of geoscience application in forensic studies and is well suited for educational purpose." (Geologica Belgica, April 2009)

"[The book] is concerned with evidence of crime from the world beneath our feet: it's more Time Team than Silent Witness … .This book shows that a great number of different scientific instruments and techniques are being used to provide evidence that will stand up in court." (Geomatics World, March/April 2009)

"The work is an excellent introductory text, written in a very accessible style, for students and practitioners alike … .To have all this in one book is a great addition to the forensic geoscience literature." (GiS Professional, February 2009)

"[This books is] an excellent coverage of the current state of knowledge in both forensics research and the practical application of these geological concepts and techniques.... The whole book is peppered with useful and appropriate examples from the authors’ wide experiences and also from the wider literature. This book is an essential purchase." (Macaulay Institute, November 2008)

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Click hereto find out more about the Geoforensics Research Group and to view the book at Queen's University Belfast website
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