Geospatial Forensics Lecture

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Venue:MMC AHC3 Room 205

Forensic scientists are often challenged with the task of constraining the geographic source of evidentiary materials – for example the location of origin of a soil sample or site of production of an explosive. Natural Earth system processes and human activities lead to spatial, temporal, and process-related variation in the distribution of stable isotopes in a wide range of materials that, if we can document or predict them, provide a basis for geospatial forensics. I will discuss several model systems where isotope distributions in environmental and biological systems offer significant potential to constrain the origin of evidentiary materials. I will introduce the theory underlying isotope distribution in these systems with an emphasis on models that allow quantitative prediction and comparison with data from forensic samples, and will offer case studies illustrating early adoption of these methods in real-world forensic applications.