Ruffell, A, Pringle, JK, Cassella, J, Morgan, R, Ferguson, M, Heaton, V and Hope, C (2017) The use of geoscience methods for aquatic forensic searches. Earth-Science Reviews, 171. pp. 323-337. ISSN 0012-8252

[thumbnail of ruffell_etal_2017.pdf]
ruffell_etal_2017.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview


There have been few publications on the forensic search of water and fewer still on the use of geoforensic techniques when exploring aqueous environments. Here we consider what the nature of the aqueous environment is, what the forensic target(s) may be, update the geoforensic search assets we may use in light of these, and provide a search strategy that includes multiple exploration assets. Some of the good practice involved in terrestrial searches has not been applied to water to-date, water being seen as homogenous and without the complexity of solid ground: this is incorrect and a full desktop study prior to searching, with prioritized areas, is recommended. Much experimental work on the decay of human remains is focused on terrestrial surface deposition or burial, with less known about the nature of this target in water, something which is expanded upon here, in order to deploy the most appropriate geoforensic method in water-based detection. We include case studies where detecting other forensic targets have been searched for; from metal (guns, knives) to those of a non-metallic nature, such as submerged barrels/packages of explosives, drugs, contraband and items that cause environmental pollution. A combination of the consideration of the environment, the target(s), and both modern and traditional search devices, leads to a preliminary aqueous search strategy for forensic targets. With further experimental research and criminal/humanitarian casework, this strategy will continue to evolve and improve our detection of forensic targets.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at 10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.04.012 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: forensic, geophysics, geoscience, remote sensing, water
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2017 10:06
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2018 11:08

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item