Soil and Sand

The identification, sourcing, and comparison of rocks and minerals, plant, animal, and anthropogenic components of sands and soils is a specialty of Microtrace.  Sands, soils, and specific mineral fractions are encountered in a range of investigations including forensic soil analyses, the identification of unknown deposits in industrial sludges on collection filters and traps, and the characterization of individual components in air and dust samples.

The identification of these materials and the synthesis of this disparate data into a useful form can provide a wealth of information.  Over the years, Microtrace scientists have played pioneering roles in the development of these techniques and have published and taught extensively in this highly specialized discipline.

Our successful investigations have included:

  • assisting police in capturing a serial rapist based on the dust present on jerseys left at two of the crime scenes
  • tracking down stolen goods based on the soil left in place of the original cargo
  • a wide range of forensic soil analyses that have, at times, assisted both the prosecution and the defense

Currently, Microtrace scientists sit on both national and international working groups on forensic soil analysis.

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