Forensic archaeology, conductivity meter, ground-penetrating radar, geophysical methods
Searching for buried metallic evidence at crime scenes or at potential disposal sites can be a daunting task for forensic personnel. In particular, it is common to search for a small firearm that was discarded or buried by the perpetrator. When performing forensic searches, it is recommended to first use non-invasive methods such as geophysical instruments to minimize damage to evidence and to the crime scene. Geophysical tools are used to pinpoint small areas of interest across a scene that will be invasively tested later. Prior to this project, there was no published research that tested the utility of the conductivity meter to search for metallic weapons such as firearms and blunt or sharp edged weapons. A sample comprised of 32 metallic weapons was buried in a controlled setting to test the applicability of a conductivity meter for forensic searches. Weapons were tested at multiple depths; once data collection was performed for one depth, the weapons were reburied 5cm deeper until they were no longer detected. Results obtained with conductivity meter were compared to results obtained by the ground-penetrating radar using different depths and transect intervals. The effects of several variables on detection such as weapon size, metallic composition, burial depth, and transect interval were analyzed in order to explore the limitations of each instrument. Results obtained from this controlled research can provide guidelines to help law enforcement in real-world searches.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dionne, Charles, "Detecting Buried Metallic Weapons In A Controlled Setting Using A Conductivity Meter And A Ground-penetrating Radar" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4025.