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The evaluation of geochemical analysis techniques for forensic provenance and interpretation

Cheshire, K; (2017) The evaluation of geochemical analysis techniques for forensic provenance and interpretation. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the feasibility of geochemical analysis techniques in forensic investigation, the issues associated with interpreting mixed provenance geochemical evidence and factors that could potentially influence the conclusions drawn. Two forensically relevant locations in the UK were selected for the study. Within these locations three sites were selected with differing land-use characteristics to assess the feasibility of X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy, Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy, Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy, Isotope Ratio Mass Spectroscopy and Quantitative Evaluation of Materials by Scanning Electron Microscopy techniques in distinguishing between geographically similar samples. The ability of these techniques to provide intelligence from material recovered from exhibits that are pertinent to a forensic investigation, e.g. footwear, was also assessed through the analysis of artificially created mixtures containing material from these sites. Sampling was conducted at quarterly intervals over a 12 month period to monitor the degree of temporal variation between samples from each site. Additionally, differences in the plastic sample bag packaging and storage conditions were explored to identify the optimum packaging, sample state, storage temperature and storage duration for soil/sediment material that is to undergo chemical analysis. Statistical analysis of the geochemical data revealed inter-site variation to be significant while intra-site variation and temporal variance was non-significant at each location and no significant difference was identified between packaging material, storage conditions and storage duration. The interpretation of mixed provenance samples was far more complex and identified the potential for false negative and false positive conclusions to be drawn. This thesis presents the first systematic empirical data set that addresses the issue of mixed and single source sample comparison by geochemical analysis, outlines a procedure for the hand ling of geological evidence, and provides a basis upon which to build future research that addresses the interpretation issues that have been identified.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The evaluation of geochemical analysis techniques for forensic provenance and interpretation
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1535329
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