Geological fakes and frauds

Alastair Ruffell, Niall Majury, William E. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
648 Downloads (Pure)


Some geological fakes and frauds are carried out solely for financial gain (mining fraud), whereas others maybe have increasing aesthetic appeal (faked fossils) or academic advancement (fabricated data) as their motive. All types of geological fake or fraud can be ingenious and sophisticated, as demonstrated in this article. Fake gems, faked fossils and mining fraud are common examples where monetary profit is to blame: nonetheless these may impact both scientific theory and the reputation of geologists and Earth scientists. The substitution or fabrication of both physical and intellectual data also occurs for no direct financial gain, such as career advancement or establishment of belief (e.g. evolution vs. creationism). Knowledge of such fakes and frauds may assist in spotting undetected geological crimes: application of geoforensic techniques helps the scientific community to detect such activity, which ultimately undermines scientific integrity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224–231
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Issue number1-2
Early online date12 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Gems
  • Fakes
  • Frauds
  • Mining
  • Palaeoecology
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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