Solid and drift geology in forensic investigations

Alastair Ruffell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Forensic geology, forensic geoscience and geoforensics (see the text for definitions) are largely concerned with searches for buried objects or the use of sediment and soil analysis as evidence. Geophysics, remote sensing, geostatistics, geochemistry and geomorphology are considered part of these disciplines. Traditional outcrop geology is not often considered, with very few publications considering the role of mapped and logged geology. This work comprises a review of the few published works, followed by a range of case studies that demonstrate how traditional, outcropscale drift and solid geology can be used in forensic geology. These include: using geology in the search for buried explosives and human remains; the logging of solid and drift geology for analysis of disputed rock quality; and modelling groundwater flow from an illegal landfill site. Geological mapping may assist in limiting a search area or in understanding what failed in a search or forensic investigation. The scale of forensic geology discussed bridges the gap between the two traditions of forensic geology outlined above: that of searching large areas of ground and trace evidence analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-172
Number of pages9
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Geology


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