COMPARISON OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND FORENSIC GEOLOGY
In both environmental and forensic geologic work, the types of data geologists evaluate often are circumstantial or anecdotal, rather than direct. Our conclusions are based on several lines of evidence for which the simplest causal explanation is invoked and tested. Geologists must infer conclusions from limited data sets and must always consider scale, relative position, and timing of relationships.
Examples of the similarities between environmental geology and forensic geology include sample management; chemical analysis; site layout documentation; restriction of site access; use of standard operating procedures, sampling and analysis plans, and quality assurance plans; and obtaining access to a site.
Skills developed by the environmental geologist are directly applicable to forensic work. The cross over will require adequate translation of terminology between the two fields and understanding of standard operating procedures that are typically learned on the job. Still, seasoned environmental geologists can transfer their skills of solving analytical, relational, three-dimensional problems to those associated with solving crimes.