2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM


RIDING, James B., RAWLINS, Barry G., KEMP, Simon J., HODGKINSON, Emily H., VANE, Christopher H., POULTON, Catherine and FREEBOROUGH, Katy, British Geol Survey, Keyworth, NG12 5GG, United Kingdom, jbri@bgs.ac.uk

Establishing the provenance of mud, soil or other earth-derived particles found on items such as clothing, footwear or vehicles, can make a significant contribution to the intelligence and evidential phases of a forensic investigation. This contribution reports the findings of a blind test case in which specialists in mineralogy, environmental particles, palynology and the structural characterisation of organic matter at the molecular level were asked to provide information on the provenance of three soil samples from widely differing sites. The study demonstrated that combining multiple techniques and specialist interpretations was extremely effective in the assessment of provenance for two out of the three study sites. At the other site, although the mineralogical analysis correctly identified the parent material to the level of the geological formation, some other lines of evidence proved to be potentially misleading. Clay mineralogy demonstrated a powerful potential to identify specific stratigraphic formations.