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Public Lecture: Ground Search and Geological Trace Evidence in the US system

04 December 2023
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Event type:
Lecture, Specialist Group, Hybrid
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Forensic Geoscience Group
Hybrid In person at Burlington House and Virtual via Zoom
Event status:

Event details

How can you solve crime with just a little dirt? Forensic geologists have worked at the FBI for over 100 years, helping to solve thousands of cases in all 50 states and over a dozen countries. Anytime soil, even a trace amount, is found on a piece of evidence, like a pair of shoes or a shovel, forensic geologists can get called to investigate.

Soil can be used to locate missing bodies or place evidence at the scene of a crime. For example, broken glass on a suspect’s backpack can be compared to glass from a broken window to see if they could have come from the same place; mud from the wheel well of a vehicle can be compared to soil from a clandestine grave.

But what if you don’t know where the soil is from? That’s called a provenance investigation, and, in that case, a forensic geologist can analyze the soil and using maps to find areas with similar characteristics.

And it’s not just soil and glass. Many building materials such as bricks, cement, plaster, and even ceiling tiles can be made with geological materials. That means you need a geologist to examine them. 


Jodi Webb earned her B.S. in Geology from Northern Arizona University and her M.S. in Geology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has worked as a Geologist/Forensic Examiner for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, USA since 1997. She conducts examinations of geologically derived materials for law enforcement agencies and provides expert testimony regarding her findings. This includes homicides, kidnappings, bombings, product tampering, art crime, fraud, and burglary. She also serves as an instructor to law enforcement in the collection and preservation of trace evidence. Ms. Webb is actively involved in research and standards development for forensic geology, is a member of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), ASTM International, and is the FBI Adviser for International Union of Geological Sciences-Initiative on Forensic Geology (IUGS-IFG).


6:30pm: Public Lecture in-person guests arrive (please note a private event is taking place till 6:30 pm so there will be no access prior to this.)

6:45pm – 7:00pm: Introduction of guest speaker

7:00pm – 8:00pm: Evening public guest lecture

8:00pm: End of event


Advanced registration for this lecture is advised due to limited places. This lecture is free to attend, however we are a registered charity (number: 210161)
and we would welcome donations. If you would like to donate, you can do so here.

If you wish to join our mailing list please email [email protected]

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