Forensic geology, also known more broadly as ‘forensic geoscience’ or ‘geoforensics’ is the application of geology to policing and law enforcement, which may potentially be applicable to a court of law’. In other words forensic geology is the application of geology to aid the investigation of crime. 



The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) Initiative on Forensic Geology (IFG) was established at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France on 22 February 2011. The aim of the IUGS-IFG is, “to develop forensic geology internationally and promote its applications”. Soil science and geology are specialist disciplines that can make a valuable contribution to forensic science investigations. Despite a resurgence in Earth material examination associated with criminal investigations, its full potential has yet to be realised. During 2022 the IUGS aims to explore this topic more

The IFG are a dynamic group with lots of exciting events going on. Here are a few of the most recent:


IUGS-IFG is collaborating in a project in China on the ‘Regional Environmental Inference and Traceability Technology of Soil for Forensic Purpose’. This includes soil colour, elemental analysis, mineralogy, pesticide residue analysis, plants, palynology and isotopic analysis of human hair and
Forensic Geology at the Japan Geosciense Union (JpGU) has accepted a proposal for a session on ‘An Introduction to Forensic Geology.’ The hydrid event can be attended in person or virtually and takes place from 22-27 May 2022. Abstracts can be submitted from 12 January 2022 to 17 February 2022. Click here for more information.

Remote Sensing to Detect Unmarked Graves in Canada. Information including a video by the Canadian Archaeological Association, on the remote detection of graves can be found here.

Crime Scene Training, Queens University Belfast (QUB), Northern Ireland. Students at QUB took part in a training course comprising forensic search and crime scene examination and used the newly-published book, ‘A Guide to Forensic Geology’.

International Trafficking of Elephant Ivory and Animal Teeth, Brazil. Federal police in Brazil conducted searches and seizures related to the illegal trade in elephant ivory and animal teeth. Further details can be found on the IUGS-IFG Student Chapter web site.


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