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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
  • 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.


  • 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

Former Events

New Horizons in Forensic Geoscience: The Bedrock of International Security in Minerals, Mining, Metals, Murders and the Missing - 4-5 December 2023

The Forensic Geoscience Group of the Geological Society of London (GSL-FGG) and the International Union of Geological Sciences, Initiative on Forensic Geology (IUGS-IFG) joint conference where contributors from the UK and internationally, presented and debated the results of recent research and operational case studies in forensic geology. In addition, the event demonstrated where forensic geology has delivered to policy and practice with sessions on regulation and the law. The event also focussed on minerals, mining and meatal crimes, search operations, geological trace evidence and policy.

Forensic Geophysics & Forensic Geoscience 2020 - 2 December 2020

A one day joint meeting of the Near Surface Geophysics and Forensic Geoscience Groups of the Geological Society.

Upcoming Events

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Lorna Dawson
The James Hutton Institute
AB15 8QH
Scotland UK
+44 (0)344 928 5428
[email protected]


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


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


Alastair Ruffell
Queens University Belfast,
Geography Building,
7 Elmwood Avenue,
Northern Ireland, UK
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3407
[email protected]

Co-opted members

Anna Williams
[email protected]

Jamie Pringle
[email protected]

Jennifer McKinley
[email protected]

John Cassella
[email protected]

Karen Hudson-Edwards
[email protected]

ERC Member

Kris Wisniewski
[email protected]

Additional co-opted member

Nelson Eby (USA)
[email protected]

Student representative members

Megan Quick
[email protected]

Frances Proctor
[email protected]