Forensic Application of FM-CW and Pulse Radar

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Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology has supplied vital assistance in criminal investigations. However, law enforcement personnel desire further developments such that the technology is rapidly deployable, and that it provides both a simple user interface and sophisticated target identification. To assist in the development of target identification algorithms, our efforts involve gathering background GPR data for the various site conditions and circumstances that often typify clandestine burials. For this study, forensic anthropologists established shallow-grave plots at The University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility (ARF) that are specific to GPR research. These plots contain donated human cadavers lying in various configurations and ... continued below

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Koppenjan, S. K.; Freeland, R. S.; Miller, M. L. & Yoder, R. E. January 1, 2003.

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Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology has supplied vital assistance in criminal investigations. However, law enforcement personnel desire further developments such that the technology is rapidly deployable, and that it provides both a simple user interface and sophisticated target identification. To assist in the development of target identification algorithms, our efforts involve gathering background GPR data for the various site conditions and circumstances that often typify clandestine burials. For this study, forensic anthropologists established shallow-grave plots at The University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility (ARF) that are specific to GPR research. These plots contain donated human cadavers lying in various configurations and depths, surrounded by assorted construction material and backfill debris. We scanned the plots using two GPR technologies: (1) a multi-frequency synthetic-aperture FM-CW radar (200-700 MHz) (GPR-X) developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Special Technologies Laboratory (STL), Bechtel Nevada (Koppenjan et al., 2000), and (2) a commercial pulse radar (SIR-20) manufactured by Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc. (400 and 900 MHz)(GSSI). The sweep-frequency data show the large biological mass decomposing within the torso as encircled ''hot spots.'' The 400-MHz pulse radar exhibit major horizontal reflectors above the body, with shadow reflectors (horizontal multiples) occurring beneath the body at 60 cm depth. The 400-MHz antenna was able to discern the grave walls and folded tarp covering the lower body. Under these moist, clay-rich conditions, the 900-MHz antenna was able to penetrate slightly beyond 30 cm beneath the concrete layer. However, neither system was able to penetrate beyond a one meter depth in the moist, clay-rich soil (fine, mixed, thermic Typic Paleudalf). Example scans from each system are provided, along with a discussion of the survey protocol and general performance.

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OSTI as DE00807365

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics (JEEG) Special Issue

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  • Report No.: DOE/NV/11718--745
  • Grant Number: AC08-96NV11718
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 807365
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc737307

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  • January 1, 2003

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • Feb. 15, 2016, 11:09 a.m.

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Koppenjan, S. K.; Freeland, R. S.; Miller, M. L. & Yoder, R. E. Forensic Application of FM-CW and Pulse Radar, article, January 1, 2003; Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc737307/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.