Palynology and Mineralogy

Forensic geology, combining palynology and mineralogy, has been used as a tool in criminology since the 1950s, and is experiencing growing use for environmental and other scientific problem solving applications. Pollen analysis of honey and other foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals is also an important technique for verifying trade descriptions and origin.

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Palynology

Pollen and spores are the fertile dispersed bodies of all plants. They are small, averaging about 25-60 microns (thousandths of a millimetre), produced in large numbers, widely disseminated, resistant to degradation, and found in most environments. They adhere to most surfaces. Spores and pollen of different plants are distinctive to varying degrees and can be identified by the palynologist to varying levels of accuracy.

Mineralogy

Petrology and mineralogy involve the study of the chemical composition, structure, and origin of rocks and minerals, and in forensic science are often undertaken in association with palynology. Different rocks, soils and dust contain different minerals so that identification of minerals may identify their region of origin. The shape of dispersed rock and mineral fragments may also identify the type of environment from which they are derived.

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