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Geophysical monitoring of simulated clandestine burials of murder victims to aid forensic investigators

Davenward, Ben; Mirosch, Natalie; Spencer, Francesca; Jervis, Jon R.; Pringle, Jamie K.; Stimpson, Ian G.; Wisniewski, Kristopher D.; Heaton, Vivienne


Ben Davenward

Natalie Mirosch

Francesca Spencer

Jon R. Jervis

Kristopher D. Wisniewski


Locating murder victims buried within clandestine graves is one of the most important and difficult challenges for forensic search teams. This article details how applied geoscientists have been geophysically monitoring simulated clandestine burials, using pig cadavers as human proxies, for over 10 years, in order to discover the best geophysical methods to detect cadavers and how this might change over time. Low frequency ground penetrating radar and electrical resistivity methods could both locate the burials throughout the survey period, with winter/spring surveys producing better data and the style of burial also found to be important.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 25, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 31, 2021
Publication Date Mar 31, 2021
Journal Geology Today
Print ISSN 0266-6979
Publisher Wiley
Volume 37
Issue 2
Pages 63-65
Keywords clandestine burial, geophysics, GPR, resistivity, forensic
Publisher URL