Ground searches for graves and buried targets related to homicide, terrorism and organised crime

Laurance J. Donnelly, Commander Mark Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Geologists explore the ground to locate mineral resources, investigate and characterise the properties and behaviour the soils and rocks as part of a geotechnical ground investigation and for geohazard assessments. Similarly, the police may search the ground to locate homicide graves, weapons, firearms, drugs or items of value that have been buried beneath the ground surface as part of a criminal or terrorist act. Historically, the methods and techniques used by geologists and law enforcement evolved separately. Conventionally, geologists and law enforcement officers worked in isolation to explore and investigate or search the ground. Over the past decade the authors, with different and complimentary capabilities, began working in collaboration during the search for a grave. This provided the opportunity and incentive for geological and law enforcement investigative strategies to be brought together. This has enabled the development of a high assurance ground search strategy. This paper provides an overview of ground searches how these have advanced and developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-117
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


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