Taxonomy term

forensic geology

Geologic Column: How T. rex got its street cred back

Apparently, T. rex was in danger of losing its street cred as the scariest meat-eating hunter of all time. Until a recent discovery, the lumbering giant was being dissed as a sneaky scavenger. Forensic paleontologists to the rescue!

16 Aug 2014

CSI La Brea: Tiny traces reveal big secrets of the tar pits

The La Brea tar pits in the middle of Los Angeles are known for turning up spectacularly preserved specimens of dire wolves, saber-tooth cats and woolly mammoths. But how long it took for the animals to sink down into the sticky tar after they became trapped has long been a mystery. Now a new study looking at the traces left by hungry bone-eating insects is providing a minimum time span for burial, as well as confirming some long-held suspicions about when the tar pits were at their most lethal.

27 Oct 2013

Hidden graves give up their secrets to geologists

As of April 2013, more than 61,000 people were registered as missing in Colombia, many of whom are feared to be victims of the country’s narcotics-fueled gang wars and, presumably, buried in clandestine graves. Now a new study comparing the most effective remote sensing tools for finding hidden graves may help bring justice for victims and closure for families.

08 Aug 2013

Bare Earth Elements: GSA highlights, days 2 and 3

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — EARTH’s Tim Oleson is in Charlotte, N.C., this week for the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference. He is blogging about interesting talks and activities he’s attended, so keep checking back to get the scoop. Read his first report from the conference here. You can also follow the action by following @earthmagazine on Twitter.

Monday and Tuesday at GSA are in the books here in Charlotte. Naturally, there were too many interesting presentations to attend, but that’s the beauty of conferences. What’s another great thing about them?  You can listen to undergraduate, graduate and seasoned researchers alike discuss their research, all in the same day and in the same place.

06 Nov 2012

Benchmarks: October 1904: Mineralogy solves a murder

In a bean field outside the city of Freiburg im Breisgau on the western edge of Germany’s Black Forest, Eva Disch lay dead, strangled. Her blue and red silk scarf may have kept the chill off her neck earlier on that October day in 1904, but now it was wound too tightly, a tourniquet around her neck. The only clue to the death of the local seamstress was a dirty handkerchief discarded near her body. With little evidence to go on, investigators turned to Georg Popp.
 
03 Oct 2011

Cold case files: Forging forensic isoscapes

In November 2006, someone left a badly beaten man at a hospital in Gwent, South Wales. The victim was severely injured and died shortly thereafter without revealing his identity. All the Gwent police knew about the John Doe was that he was Asian, or of Asian descent, and possibly Vietnamese. There was no record of him entering the country. His fingerprints provided no further information on his identity. The trail went cold.

30 Sep 2011

Old plutonium reveals new secrets

Buried treasures come in many forms. Few, however, can help prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to terrorists. But a glass bottle discovered in an old safe buried at the Hanford Site in eastern Washington turned out to contain crucial clues that could help scientists develop new ways to track the spread of nuclear materials.

16 Jun 2009