Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Elise Champeil

Second Reader

Gloria Proni

Third Advisor

John Decatur


The characterization of trace evidence is key to the field of forensic science. Trace evidence can take many forms, such as glass, fiber, and soil. Traditionally, forensic soil analysis has been painted as one of the more tedious applications, which conventionally studies the mineral composition of soil samples. In this study, we present another avenue of soil analysis that takes advantage of understudied factor of soil: soil organic matter (SOM). Using both proton (1H NMR) and carbon nuclear magnetic resonance (13C NMR) separately and applying principal component analysis (PCA) to both types of spectra, we sought to determine whether SOM could be discriminated from three separate locations in a park. We discerned that these techniques were indeed able to differentiate three locations due to the finite differences in both 1H NMR and 13C NMR. This study demonstrates that SOM can be a favorable trace evidence, as it is discrete enough to delineate the origins of soil samples.



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