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Forensic Geoscience Group

There are a number of geologists in the UK, and internationally, who currently work with, or have recently worked with the police, other law-enforcers, environmental agencies & humanitarian organisations to help bring some types of crimes to successful conclusions. Some geoscientists have also been involved in forensic investigations in the mining, engineering, minerals & water sectors of industry, or during the investigations of geohazards (also known as natural disasters). The common ground for all these sub-disciplines is that geoscience practice and results may end up as part of a public, international or legal enquiry by government or in courts of law.

Forensic Geoscientists may be broadly divided into two principal fields, depending on their skills, expertise and capabilities. Firstly, there are the laboratory-based geologists who may include for example; geochemists, mineralogists, petrologists, micro-palaeontologists and isotope specialists. These may be involved with forensic investigations to; provide physical evidence for use in court, assist in an investigation, provide intelligence or identify the location of a crime scene. In short, geoscientists may link an offender (or object) to the scene or link the victim to an offender. Secondly, there are field-based geologists, who use their skills in exploration (including for example; geophysics, geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrogeology, environmental geology, remote sensing and geotechnics) to search the ground (to locate murder victim’s graves, weapons and other objects).

The Forensic Geoscience Group and the Geological Society hosted an event at the 2011 British Science Festival on, 'Sherlock Holmes to CSI: how geologists help solve crimes'. Read all about it in the Society's blog.

Members are currently collaborating actively with both the IUGS Initiative on Forensic Geology ( and US government-funded Scientific Working Group on Forensic Geology

Group Aims

  • To advance the study and understanding of Forensic Geoscience;
  • To create a network and framework of geoscientists;
  • To review and share knowledge;
  • To develop inter-disciplinary collaboration;
  • To disseminate knowledge and information.

These will be achieved by:

  • Holding meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops & field visits.
  • Encourage and promote meetings with related forensic science groups.
  • Encourage and promote meetings with related specialist groups within the Geological Society.
  • Representing the interest & promoting the study and understanding of Forensic Geoscience nationally & internationally.
  • Encouraging research, training and teaching in Forensic Geoscience.
  • Promote the interests of professional, academic and practising forensic geoscientists & encourage Continuing Professional Development such other means as the Committee may think desirable, subject to the approval of the Council.

Our Events

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Alastair Ruffell
School of Geography
Queen's University Belfast
Northern Ireland
Tel: 02890 973407
Fax: 02890 321280 


Ruth Morgan
Dept. of Security and Crime Science,
University College London,
35, Tavistock Square,
Tel: 020 3108 3037


Duncan Pirrie
Helford Geoscience LLP
Menallack Farm
Treverva, Penryn
TR10 9BP
Tel: 01326 341142


Kym Jarvis
Imperial College Centre for Environmental Policy
Room 108
Manor House
Silwood Park, Ascot
Tel: 07764 943387

Co-opted members

Jennifer McKinley

Jamie Pringle