Geophysical monitoring of simulated clandestine graves using electrical and ground-penetrating radar methods: 0-3 years after burial.

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Pringle, JK ; Jervis, JR ; Hansen, JD ; Jones, GM ; Cassidy, NJ ; Cassella, JP (2012)

This study provides forensic search teams with systematic geophysical monitoring data over simulated clandestine graves for comparison to active cases. Simulated "wrapped" and "naked" burials were created. Multigeophysical surveys were collected over a 3-year monitoring period. Bulk ground resistivity, electrical resistivity imaging, multifrequency ground-penetrating radar (GPR), and grave and background "soil-water" conductivity data were collected. Resistivity surveys revealed the naked burial had consistently low-resistivity anomalies, whereas the wrapped burial had small, varying high-resistivity anomalies. GPR 110- to 900-MHz frequency surveys showed the wrapped burial could be detected throughout, with the "naked" burial mostly resolved. Two hundred and twenty-five megahertz frequency GPR data were optimal. "Soil-water" analyses showed rapidly increasing (year 1), slowly increasing (year 2), and decreasing (year 3) conductivity values. Results suggest resistivity and GPR surveys should be collected if target "wrapping" is unknown, with winter to spring surveys optimal. Resistivity surveys should be collected in clay-rich soils.
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