This paper provides our first forensic quartz grain surface texture analysis of soils from the southern hemisphere. Sediment and soil samples were collected from a simulated crime reconstruction in the environs of Canberra, Australia, which comprised a murder site, an alibi site and a body deposition site. Following the successful application of quartz grain surface texture analysis from many case locations in England1 and more recently in Switzerland2, this paper examines the potential for the application of this technique from areas around Canberra. The very specific geological history of the Australian continent provides new challenges for forensic reconstruction techniques. The quartz grain surface textural analysis undertaken indicates that clear differences between the three locations can be identified, enabling the successful differentiation of samples taken from the three distinct sites. This provides a means of undertaking exclusionary analysis and disproving an alibi location as being a possible source for material derived from the murder site or the body deposition site. These findings indicate that this form of geoforensic analysis has great potential for crime scene investigation of mixed-source physical trace geoforensic evidence in Australia. It also has the potential to provide an independent line of enquiry to other well established geoforensic techniques.
Morgan, R., Robertson, J., Lennard, C., & Bull, P. (2010). Quartz grain surface textures of soils and sediments from Canberra, Australia: a forensic reconstruction tool. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 42(3), 169-179. https://doi.org/10.1080/00450610903258110