Forensic Science Laboratory

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Science | Laboratory Instructions | Laboratory: Rocks and Minerals
Laboratory Instructions
Laboratory: Rocks and Minerals
Materials
Supplied
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Student Guide
Laboratory Guidelines
Rocks and Minerals Virtual Lab (online)
Safety
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Review the Laboratory Guidelines before conducting the lab.
Crime Summary
Early on a Sunday morning, two recreational paddlers found the body of a female teenager on the bank of the
Myakka River in Myakka River State Park in Florida. The body was next to a running trail. The young woman was
dressed in a tank top, running shorts, socks, and running shoes.
Her body was bruised, but the investigators could not tell whether the bruises were from a fall down the bank or
from some other cause. Her clothes were stained with mud from the riverbank. However, in her socks and in the
treads of her shoes, there was what appeared to be a different soil. The investigators bagged her shoes and
socks and sent the samples of the mineral to the forensic lab in which you work.
The investigators have asked you to identify the mineral in the young woman’s shoes and socks. They hope that,
by knowing the mineral, you will be able to determine the location of her death. Did she merely fall into the river
and drown or was she killed elsewhere and her body dumped into the river?
You will use your laboratory skills in this virtual lab to identify the unknown mineral. You will conduct tests on
several mineral samples for the following mineral properties:
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Color
Streak
Luster
Hardness
Cleavage
special properties
You will complete all tests for each mineral. Then you will identify an unknown mineral.
Part 1: Introduction
1. Open the Rocks and Minerals Virtual Laboratory.
2. Click View Walk-through.
3. Complete the Walk-through to learn how to use the lab. The Walk-through will explain the key procedures for
the virtual lab. Knowing the basic test procedures will allow you to complete the procedures below.
4. When you have finished the Walk-through, click Home, reset the lab, click Begin the Lab, and continue with
the procedures below.
© 2015 K12 Inc. All rights reserved.
Copying or distributing without K12’s written consent is prohibited.
Page 1 of 3
Science | Laboratory Instructions | Laboratory: Rocks and Minerals
Part 2: Determining Color and Streak
1. Examine each mineral sample under good lighting with your naked eye. Record the color of each sample in
the Data Table below. You will use this table for other parts of the lab.
2. Place the streak plate on your work surface. Scrape a mineral sample on the streak plate. Record the color of
the mineral powder, or the streak, in the Data Table that follows..
Data Table: Properties of Minerals
Attribute
Calcite
Mica
Quartz
Sulfur
Magnetite
Pyrite
Unknown
color
streak
luster
hardness
cleavage
magnetic
acid reaction
Part 3: Determining Luster
1. Examine each mineral to determine its luster. Use terms such as metallic, nonmetallic, glassy, vitreous, or
soapy to describe the luster of the mineral in the Data Table. Keep in mind that this is a very subjective
description and will probably not be the deciding factor in identifying your mineral.
Part 4: Determining Hardness
1. When conducting this test, remember the hardness of the following materials:
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fingernail – 2.5
penny – 3.5
nail – 4.5
glass microscope slide – 5.5
streak plate—6.5
2. Use the Mohs scale to ascertain the hardness of some of the minerals used in the hardness test here.
Part 5: Determining Cleavage
1. Examine each mineral to determine its cleavage.
2. Enter your results in the Data Table.
Part 6: Determining Special Properties
Not all minerals display special properties, but those that do are usually easy to identify.
© 2015 K12 Inc. All rights reserved.
Copying or distributing without K12’s written consent is prohibited.
Page 2 of 3
Science | Laboratory Instructions | Laboratory: Rocks and Minerals
1. Use the iron filings or a magnet to see if each sample is magnetic.
2. Place a small drop of unknown liquid pH 2.0 on each sample and observe what, if anything happens. Some
minerals may fizz in an acid.
3. Record any of these special properties in the Data Table.
Part 7: Determining Unknown
1. Test the Unknown, adding your results to the Data Table.
2. Compare the Unknown to the known minerals. Write your conclusion below.
Part 8: Using a Soil Map
Use a soil map to identify the original location of the soil evidence. The Unknown mineral that you identified in
Part 7 makes up 99.9% of the soil sample found on the shoes of the Myakka River victim. Use the soil map to
identify the likely original location of this soil.
Analyze the Results
1. Study the soil map. Is the composition of the soil consistent with the area around the Myakka River? If not,
which area matches the composition of the soil from the shoes?
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Answer here.
2. Based on the information from this lab, what might have happened in this crime?
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Answer here.
© 2015 K12 Inc. All rights reserved.
Copying or distributing without K12’s written consent is prohibited.
Page 3 of 3
4.06: Laboratory: Minerals 1
Minerals
The body of a female teenager was found along the banks of the Myakka River
in Myakka River State Park near Sarasota, Florida. The police took soil samples
from the body and sent them to you, a forensic geologist.
In this lab about a fictional case, you must identify the mineral in the soil to
determine where the teenager died.
Keywords and Pronunciation
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cleavage (KLEE-vij): the tendency of a mineral to split, when struck, along
specific planes of the crystal structure
effervescence Bubbling and fizzing
fracture (FRAK-chuhr): the tendency of a mineral to break unevenly
luster The way a mineral looks when light shines on its surface
Mohs scale a standard of ten minerals by which the hardness of all
minerals may be rated
streak The mark left by the powder created when a mineral is scratched
across a surface
To complete this lesson, make sure you:
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Read the fictional case about the body found near the Myakka River.
Complete the Analyzing Minerals learning activity.
Complete the Rocks and Minerals Virtual Lab.
Lesson Objectives
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Perform tests for hardness, color, streak, and special properties on mineral
samples.
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Interpret the results of tests to identify several mineral samples.
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Apply the results of mineral analysis to solve a fictional crime scenario.
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Apply the results of mineral analysis to solve a fictional crime scenario.
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Interpret the results of tests to identify several mineral samples.
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Perform tests for hardness, color, streak, and special properties on mineral
samples.
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Interpret the results of tests to identify several mineral samples.
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Apply the results of mineral analysis to solve a fictional crime scenario.
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Perform tests for hardness, color, streak, and special properties on mineral
samples.
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Interpret the results of tests to identify several mineral samples.
•
Apply the results of mineral analysis to solve a fictional crime scenario.
What’s the Story?: Myakka River Tragedy
A female teenager is found along the Myakka River.
This is a fictional crime story. Early on a Sunday morning, two recreational
paddlers found the body of a female teenager on the bank of the Myakka River
in Myakka River State Park in Florida. The body was next to a running trail. The
young woman was dressed in a tank top, running shorts, socks, and running
shoes.
Her body was bruised, but the investigators could not tell whether the bruises
were from a fall down the bank or from some other cause.
Her clothes were stained with mud from the riverbank. However, in her socks
and in the treads of her shoes, there was what appeared to be a different soil.
Can you identify the soil from the victim?
The investigators bagged her shoes and socks and sent the samples of the mineral to the
forensic lab in which you work.
The investigators have asked you to identify the mineral in the young woman’s shoes and
socks. They hope that, by knowing the mineral, you will be able to determine the location
of her death. Did she merely fall into the river and drown or was she killed elsewhere and
her body dumped into the river?
You will use your laboratory skills in this virtual lab to identify the unknown mineral.
Before you begin, let’s briefly review some of the properties of minerals.
Minerals have different physical properties.
Minerals are identified by several physical properties:
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Streak is the color of a mineral powder when it is rubbed against an unglazed
porcelain plate. This is the true color of the mineral.
Luster is the quality and intensity of reflected light from the mineral’s surface, for
example, metallic or nonmetallic.
Fracture describes the way a mineral breaks when struck, for example, smooth,
irregular, or jagged.
Cleavage describes the way some minerals break along a plane when struck.
Effervescence is shown by bubbles or fizzes when the mineral is exposed to acid.
Magnetism is judged by whether the mineral is attracted to a magnet or attracts iron
filings.
The Mohs scale describes hardness.
A mineral’s hardness is judged by whether the mineral scratches or is
scratched by materials of known hardness on the Mohs scale . For example, if
a mineral were scratched by quartz, but not feldspar, it would have a hardness
of 6.5. Diamond is one of the hardest known minerals.
These are materials of known hardness according to the Mohs hardness scale:
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fingernail – 2.5
penny – 3.5
iron nail – 4.5
glass – 5.5
streak plate – 6.5
Mohs scale
a standard of ten minerals by which the hardness of all minerals may be rated
Mohs Scale
A soil map shows the soil type in an area.
Forensic scientists use soil maps to identify the location of soil evidence. There are three
types of soil:
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sand
silt
clay
The percentage of these three types of soil varies from place to place and provides clues to
the origin of the soil evidence.
Loam is soil with nearly even percentages of sand, silt, and clay.
Unit 4 – Lab 4.06/4.07 – Rocks and Minerals
The “Rocks and Minerals” lab is our next lab in the Trace Evidence Units. Overall, the
body of a female teenager has been recovered from a river and you are analyzing the soil
evidence from her shoes to determine the location of her death. You will analyze several
known mineral samples, and the unknown sample from her shoes, ultimately working to
match the unknown sample to one of the known samples.
In order to conduct this lab, you will need to print out the lab instructions and student
guide. As you read through the background information (in 4.06), make sure to take notes
on the types of tests we will do on the chemicals. For example, be familiar with the terms
like streak and effervescence. When you start the virtual lab in a separate browser window,
you will first go to the walk-through to learn how to operate all the tests. When the walkthrough ends, you can reset and start with your testing. Make sure to record your
observations as you work through the tests.
A couple notes on testing:
1) Be patient when using the hammer and chisel to test the cleavage! You have to hold the
hammer in just the right spot so the virtual component engages and you can break the
mineral. You may want to test the cleavage on all the samples at once! In terms of
observations, you are recording the general break patterns – flakes, small pieces, large
chunks (like break in two).
2) For the luster test, it is very subjective, especially telling the difference between glassy
and metallic. Things like calcite and quartz are glassy, whereas mica and pyrite are
metallic.
You will analyze an unknown mineral.
To complete this lab, do the following:
1. Complete the virtual lab.
a. Determine the properties of all the minerals and the unknown sample.
b. Make a table of the results of each test of each mineral and the unknown.
c. Identify the unknown mineral from your tests.
2. The unknown mineral makes up 99.9% of the soil sample found on the shoes of the
body. You will use the mineral information and the soil map of Sarasota County to
determine the location of the crime.
3. Write a hypothesized reconstruction of the crime.
VIRTUAL LAB
http://k12.http.internapcdn.net/k12_vitalstream_com/CURRICULUM/318507/CURRENT_
RELEASE/ERT_VL_Rocks_and_Minerals.html
Mineral identification is an important aspect of forensic geology.
Identifying minerals present in soil is an important aspect of classifying and
identifying soil types.Geologists, including forensic geologists, conduct a variety
of tests to determine a mineral sample’s physical properties. From the physical
properties, the geologist can identify the mineral. Knowing the mineral
composition of a soil sample can help classify the soil type and determine the
location from which that sample came. The geologist uses a soil map to help
determine the origin of the sample.
Forensic geologists identify soils and locations to aid in the investigation of a
variety of crimes, such as murder, rape, and hit-and-run.
Toolmarks
In many crimes, especially burglaries, criminals use tools like pry bars, screwdrivers, or
knives. When a tool contacts a surface, it leaves a mark.
In this lesson, you will learn about the various types of toolmarks and how to collect
toolmark evidence. You will also see how toolmark examiners analyze the evidence to
identify the types of tools used in crimes.
Keywords and Pronunciation
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abrasion the wearing away of a material by grinding, rubbing, or scaping
cutting mark a toolmark made along the edge of a surface that has been cut
indentation a toolmark that a hard tool makes into a softer material
profilometer a measuring instrument to determine the topography of the surface of an
object
striation a scratch made when the surface of the tool slides across the surface of the
object
toolmark the impression, scratch, or abrasion that occurs when a tool comes in contact
with an object
What’s the Story?: Lindbergh Kidnapping
Lindberh Kidnapping: Introduction
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Charles Lindbergh was a famous aviator. In 1927, he became the first person to fly
across the Atlantic Ocean. He was an American hero.
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On March 1, 1932, Lindbergh’s 20-month-old son, Charles Augustus Lindbergh,
Jr., was kidnapped from his home in Hopewell, NJ. A subsequent search of the
home revealed a crude wooden ladder, a chisel, muddy footprints, and a ransom
note.
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The New Jersey State Police launched a massive investigation. Over the next two
months, Charles and his wife, Anne, negotiated with the kidnapper through lawyers
and friends.
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The family paid $50,000 ransom to a man with a German accent who said that the
boy would be found safe aboard a boat on Martha’s Vineyard, MA.
In May, the child’s body was found in woods near the Lindberghs’ home. He was killed,
probably at the time of the kidnapping, by a blow to the head. In the subsequent
investigation, the ladder and the toolmarks on it would become key evidence in solving the
crime.
What are toolmarks?
When you use any tool, such as a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, or saw, the tool leaves a
mark on the surface of the object. Likewise, the surface may leave a mark on the tool.
For example, a file will leave scratch marks on a piece of wood. If you look at the file, you
will see wood shavings in the grooves or perhaps even some wear on the grooves.
The impression, scratch, or abrasion that occurs when a tool comes in contact with an
object is called a toolmark .
Common tools, such as hammers, screwdrivers, and bolt cutters, are often used in crimes.
Criminals often use tools to commit crimes.
Toolmarks are often evidence at a crime scene. Toolmark evidence is most common in
burglaries, robberies, and break-ins.
Tools leave two types of marks: class marks and individual marks. Class marks identify the
type of tool. For example, the marks left by pry bars differ from marks left by other tools.
So investigators can identify the type of tool used in a crime based on the mark it left.
The specific pry bar used in a crime also leaves individual marks—marks that are unique to
the tool. If a tool is found with a suspect’s belongings, the individual marks may help link
the suspect to the crime.
A pill press used to make pills from illegal drugs always leaves toolmarks.
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Windows, doors, and other points of entry are common places for toolmarks
The tool used for this break-in left behind a distinctive toolmark that could link
the criminal to the crime
Toolmarks are usually one of three types.
Toolmarks usually fall into one of three categories.
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Indentation – impressions that a hard tool makes into a softer material
Striation or abrasion – scratches made when the surface of the tool slides across
the surface of the object
Cutting marks – marks along the edge of a surface that has been cut
Specific tools typically make certain kinds of marks. For example, a screwdriver usually
makes a striation. However, a screwdriver sometimes makes an indentation or a cutting
mark. Forensic examiners consider all possibilities when working with toolmarks
Indentation: Hammers, pry bars, and punches can leave indentations in wood or sheet
metal.
Striation: Files, screwdrivers, or chisels can leave scratches in wood or metal
Cutting Mark: Saws, bolt cutters, and knives can make cutting marks.
Photographs document toolmark evidence.
How do investigators collect toolmark evidence? At a crime scene where toolmarks are
present, investigators photograph the toolmarks to document the evidence.
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Investigators will insert a ruler or scale in the photograph to document the size of the
toolmark.
Investigators will take photos at various distances, including from close up.
To highlight details of the toolmark, the photographer will use lighting from an angle
(known as oblique lighting). It produces shadows that show the marks better.
If the toolmark is on a very dark surface, the investigator may burn some magnesium
ribbon on it. The smoke forms a white powder (magnesium oxide) that highlights the
toolmark.
A Photo with an sclae or rulerdocuments the size of the toolmark
Oblique lighting creates shadows that emphasizes the mark
Close up reveals specific details
Toolmark examiners use casts to duplicate the mark’s shape.
When necessary, the investigator may remove the surface containing a toolmark, like the
portion of a doorframe containing an indentation.
Toolmarks can be further documented by making casts or molds of them. Investigators can
create them by using various resins, putties, or waxes, like dental wax or silicone.
To view a video demonstration of a toolmark cast, visit the Crime Scene Investigator
Network:
Casting Toolmark Impressions with Mikrosil
http://www.crime-scene-investigator.net/csi-video.html
When you have finished, go to the next screen to try your hand at making a simple
toolmark cast
Analyzing Toolmarks
Tools can be compared to the marks they make.
Suppose you found a screwdriver in a burglary suspect’s car. You think it might have been
used in the crime. How could you tell for sure?
You could make a test mark using the suspected screwdriver and compare it to a toolmark
photograph or cast from the crime scene. You would look for matching lines in the
striations of the toolmark and the test mark.
You could also make a cast of the suspected tool. Then you could compare the cast of the
toolmark to the cast of the tool to see if they match.
Investigators would never match the tool itself directly with the cast or mark so as not
to contaminate the evidence, either the tool or toolmark.
Test marks and toolmarks must be compared carefully.
The comparison microscope allows an examiner to compare crime-scene t …
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