Forensic Geology (known also as Geoforensics or Forensic Geoscience) is the application of geology to criminal investigations. This includes both the knowledge base, such as understanding geomorphology in order to determine where a stream system may have deposited a transported object, and the analytical tools of Earth Scientists, like employing the x-ray diffraction (XRD) systems commonly used for identification of powered minerals to characterize a soil sample taken from a crime scene. Forensic geologists may assist in criminal and civil investigations to help determine what happened, where and when it occurred, or to help search for graves, caches, or objects buried in the ground. In a law enforcement context, forensic geology specialists typically support the police in two broad fields: in characterization of geological (trace) evidence and in searches.
The goal of this project is to produce a volume that outlines the current state of the field and provides the reader with examples of various applications through the use of case studies and research reports – not rehashing generalizations but giving examples of particular cases where geologic evidence was fundamental – particularly to highlight applications that are less well known or to illustrate some kind of lesson or challenge an assumption. Most of the existing books are either volumes geared towards teaching or are compilations of conference papers that typically lack a unifying theme and approach the topic in a somewhat scattershot fashion. The proposed volume would be more comprehensive, outlining the types of approaches that are available and where they may and may not be appropriate.