2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


MURRAY, Raymond, Geology, University of Montana, 106 Ironwood Pl, Missoula, MT 59803, rmurray@bresnan.net

Conan Doyle, Hans Gross, Edmond Locard, FBI Laboratory, Central Research Establishment, Walter McCrone all provided the foundation for Forensic Geology. However, the science has come a long way since Georg Popp examined the soil evidence in the murder of Eva Disch. Cases both real and fictional are dramatized on television. Soil cases on Forensic Files, New Detectives and CSI capture the public imagination nightly. Colleges teach the subject and PhD degrees have been awarded in both the US and Great Britain. Sarah Andrews and Susan Cummins Miller provide us with great fiction featuring forensic geologist heroines. Examination methods of questionable value such as the Density Gradient Column once featured in forensic science textbooks are no longer used. GRIM instrumentation now provides high quality data on on the refractive index of glass. Today the Dodson case emphasizes the evidential value of finding a truly rare and unusual earth material. The Camarena case illustrates the need for the examiner to go to great lengths to find the source of a specific earth material that is critical to an investigation. The murder of Rajesh demonstrates the value of systematic examination and careful microscopic work. Examiners will probably never be able to provide a frequency statistic for their geologic evidence. However, the value of the evidence will become obvious if it is produced and presented with skill, determination and integrity.