Soil Analysis

Like the collection of trace evidence, dirt and dust from a crime scene are collected using tape or a forensic vacuum to lift the sample from its surroundings. Once taken to a forensic laboratory, a careful analysis of the dust and dirt samples can be conducted under controlled conditions. Large particles in the sample are extracted, making the overall sample analysis clearer. A complete soil analysis is rare because of time consumption, but may be necessary depending on the case involved.

Less time consuming analyses are likelier to be done when the simply matching of mud samples is required. A direct comparison of the two samples is conducted, with investigators looking for aspects such as colour similarities, pH levels and the variety and size of the particles found in the sample. For example, mineral particles will have traces of the rock from which they were derived, such as quartz and limestone, while grains of sand have distinctly different shapes if say, one comes from the ocean and the other from a desert.

1. Describe the texture of clay soil in contrast to sand?

2. List the three tests that can be done on soil to help determine where it came from?

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