New Standard Will Support Examination of Geological Forensic Evidence

ASTM International’s forensic sciences committee (E30) has developed a new standard that will be used by forensic experts to determine the minerals within geological material. The new standard will soon be published as E3294.

ASTM International member Libby Stern notes that soils and other geological material that are being tested as trace evidence are often too small to be tested by conventional X-ray diffraction sample preparation techniques.

“This new guide recommends adaptations of powder X-ray diffraction for analysis of geological forensic evidence,” says Stern. “In addition, the guide recommends criteria for identification of unknown minerals within mixtures and provides an approach to interpret powder X-ray diffraction data in the context of forensic comparisons of geological materials.

The development of E3294 was a collaboration between E30 and the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC). The new guide will be the first ASTM standard for forensic analysis of geological materials.

All interested parties are invited to participate in forensic sciences standards development activities. The committee plans to develop additional standards on the application of other analytical methods for examination of geological forensic evidence.

“Persons with experience in examination of forensic geological materials or with use of methods appropriate to examination of forensic geological materials are encouraged to join our efforts,” says Stern.

Media Inquiries: Dan Bergels, tel +1.610.832.9602;

Committee Contact: Brian Milewski, tel +1.610.832.9619;
Release #11395

April 14, 2022