Soil Forensics is the study of the soil – which includes soil morphology, mineralogy, chemistry, physics and geophysics coupled with soil mapping – to answer legal questions and support the investigation at the crime scene. Soil description and interpretation can be used to answer questions such as “What soil is?” “Where it came from?” and to carry out studies relating to the characterization and localization of soils for forensic comparisons.

Basically, the majority of soils have a high adhesion to various surfaces; in particular this is due to the presence of clay minerals and organic matter. This evidence combined with new analytical techniques- allows to analyze soil residues present on the survey findings. The study typically involves sampling at the crime scene and ground control of suspected sites from which the soil could came from. In fact, soil properties vary along the landscape and this diversity may allow soil forensics of using the soil – with some degree of certainty – as evidence in criminal and environmental investigations.

CRISP – as part of its completed forensics activities – has used – to the great benefit of the competent authorities – the following analytical approaches: soils survey, soil mapping, geo-spatial statistics, morphology and soil sampling at the crime scene, X-ray fluorescence (also on microsamples), gamma-ray spectroscopy, XRD and FTIR, soil microscopy, soil micromorphology, X-ray microtomography.

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