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IUGS Initiative on Forensic Geology


Camborne Science and International Academy

Pirrie, D., Donnelly, L.J., Rollinson, G.K., Butcher, A.R., Dawson, L.A. & Pirrie, H.A. (2013) Forensic geology at the International School Science Fair. Geology Today Vol. 29, No. 6, November–December 2013. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, The Geologists’ Association & The Geological Society of London.

Abstract: In July 2013 the International School Science Fair (ISSF) was hosted by Camborne Science and International Academy, Cornwall, UK. This meeting brings young talented scientists together from around the world to participate in workshops and activities highlighting current scientific developments. As part of ISSF 2013, a workshop on forensic geology was delivered to some of the international participants. This included the preparation of a map to show the mineralogical composition of the soils of the participating schools. The soil mineralogy was determined using automated mineral analysis based on scanning electron microscopy. In addition there were workshops on the recovery of geological trace evidence in a forensic context and the theory and practice of carrying out a geophysical search for hidden items. Data generated as part of this workshop are available to download from the International Union of Geological Sciences, Initiative on Forensic Geology website (

These materials are available for download

Imaging the world through automated mineralogy.

The first three files have images that show internationally sourced soils mapped using QEMSCAN® technology to reveal its mineralogical composition and appearance. The fourth file is an Excel spreadsheet with the soil mineralogy data.