The detection of forensic burials in Florida using GPR

John J. Schultz, Anthony B. Falsetti, Mary E. Collins, Steven K. Koppenjan, Michael W. Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study tested the applicability of utilizing ground-penetrating radar (GPR) in Florida to detect buried bodies. Twenty-four burials were constructed with pig cadavers and divided equally into two groups of average weights (24.49 and 63.5 kg) and buried at one of two depths (50-60 or 100-110 cm). Two soils were also utilized in this study to represent two of the most common soil orders in Florida: Entisols and Ultisols. Graves were monitored on a monthly basis for time periods up to 21 months with two GPR systems. During this study, grave anomalies became less distinctive over time due to decomposition of the body and settling of the disturbed soil (backfill) as it compacted. Soil type was a major factor. Grave anomalies became more difficult to recognize over time for deep targets that were within clay. Forensic targets that were in sandy soil were recognized for the duration of this study. Pig size was not a factor. The anomaly that was produced from a child size pig cadaver had the same general characteristics and was detected for the same duration of time as a larger pig cadaver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-448
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Anomaly
  • Cadaver
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Ground-penetrating radar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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