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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    103

    Isotope Regions *Non-Discussion Reference Thread*

    Ok, I sent the new list off and it should be posted here soon. We are down to 48 names (approximately) on the list that we started that had around 3,000 I believe matching our John Doe. As far as tasks go, I can only think of checking these names against the circumstances and facts I have told you and see if there is a fit.

    The isotope testing results are as follows:

    (1) The individual was traveling within a month prior to his death; and

    (2) Approximately 1 to 1.5 months (4-6 weeks) prior to death, the individual resided
    in a region (“Iso-Region 1”) consistent with the Intermountain West, including
    portions of Lyon County, Nevada; and

    (3) Approximately 1.5 to 2 months (6-9 weeks) prior to death, the individual moved
    to “Iso-Region 1” from a region characterized by a cooler climate (“Iso-Region
    2”); and

    (4) Approximately 2 to 3 months (9-13 weeks) prior to death, the individual had
    moved or traveled through “Iso-Region 2”, an area consistent with more northern
    and higher elevation regions of the Intermountain West, including some isolated
    high elevation portions of Nevada.

    Again, any help on this case is greatly appreciated. Without citizens like you all on this forum this job would be insurmountable. This case is not only a "whodunit" but also a "whoisit".

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    3,376
    Just so we have a basic framework, I found this website, which seems to have a relevant presentation of what isotope testing is about. http://www.sfu.museum/forensics/eng/...a_pg/isotopes/

    Another good explanation is a PBS Nova program: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/stable-isotopes.html

    The only thing close to a helpful isotope distribution map I've found is inn Google books under Isoscapes. This whole book looks fascinating, actually.

    I had always thought of isotope testing as pertinent to archaeology (e.g. neolithic) and botanical elements (e.g. bristle cone pines) in archaeological sites. I'm excited to know that it gets applied to forensics.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    3,376
    Were you able to find anything on the isotopes, Carbuff? I looked for a couple of hours a few days ago, but the only concept I could come up with was to use the blurry maps in Isoscapes, alongside my Walmart atlas and then get a general idea of where the MP might or might not have been.

    I was able to eliminate some possibilities because they are in Isotope Region 3. E.g. Yellowstone. Some E-W bound interstates also go through Region 3.

    There's an Isotope region 2 spot not to far from Wellington NV. It corresponds to the backside (east flank) of Yosemite.

    Interestingly, Tahoe does not seem to be Region 2.

    The other piece of information I couldn't quite figure out is: How long must a person be in a region for the isotope measurement for the region to show up? For instance, if you took a day trip to Yellowstone, will Region 3 show up in the Isotope test? Or would you have to, like, camp in Yellowstone backcountry for 2 weeks for it to register?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    18,098
    I got this further information from Mmarty:

    Region 1:
    California
    Oregon
    Washington
    Idaho
    Wyoming
    Montana
    Nevada
    Colorado
    Utah
    North Dakota
    South Dakota

    Region 2:
    Montana
    Wyoming
    Idaho
    small areas of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Colorado

    He also mentioned that it's not an exact science, so the edges aren't really precise. He'll try to get us the map next week.
    Opinions expressed are strictly my own (who else would they belong to???)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    New England
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    18,098
    Quote Originally Posted by RickshawFan View Post
    Were you able to find anything on the isotopes, Carbuff? I looked for a couple of hours a few days ago, but the only concept I could come up with was to use the blurry maps in Isoscapes, alongside my Walmart atlas and then get a general idea of where the MP might or might not have been.

    I was able to eliminate some possibilities because they are in Isotope Region 3. E.g. Yellowstone. Some E-W bound interstates also go through Region 3.

    There's an Isotope region 2 spot not to far from Wellington NV. It corresponds to the backside (east flank) of Yosemite.

    Interestingly, Tahoe does not seem to be Region 2.

    The other piece of information I couldn't quite figure out is: How long must a person be in a region for the isotope measurement for the region to show up? For instance, if you took a day trip to Yellowstone, will Region 3 show up in the Isotope test? Or would you have to, like, camp in Yellowstone backcountry for 2 weeks for it to register?
    No, I didn't find anything better yet. I did find another good article though: http://www.forensicmag.com/articles/...table-isotopes

    "In general, 18O decreases from the equator to the poles, and from the west coast of a continent to the interior. Also, 18O is lower in mountains, and on the lee-side of large mountain ranges like the Rockies."

    Which explains why Tahoe is a different region: it's at a lower altitude.
    Last edited by carbuff; 12-19-2015 at 01:20 AM.
    Opinions expressed are strictly my own (who else would they belong to???)

  6. #6
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    Oct 2009
    Location
    New England
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    Okay, I found one that sort of shows what we're looking at. (I got it through a friend of a friend whose husband is a climate scientist; he thinks the forensic zones are not quite identical to the climate zones shown on his map.) It shows the 180 isotope range from most (yellow) to least (dark blue). It's not labeled, and it's hard to see fine detail (for instance, it's not clear enough to see that Yellowstone Park is a different region), but it does give us a pretty clear idea where the regions might be.

    I did find a more detailed one, but it's under copyright so I can't post it.

    isotope zones.jpg
    Last edited by carbuff; 12-19-2015 at 12:25 PM.
    Opinions expressed are strictly my own (who else would they belong to???)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    31,655
    Use this thread to post reference material only. For questions and discussion, see this thread:

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...9#post12253329
    PODCAST ROW

    WEBSLEUTHS ON FACEBOOK
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    In the woods
    Posts
    5,305
    Some good info on using isotope testing for crime investigations. http://www.technologyreview.com/news...rime-fighters/

    With maps showing oxygen and hydrogen levels in hair samples across the US.



    PDF version of full report from February 25, 2008 issues of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios in human hair are related to geography
    Please be aware that what I type is my opinion.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    upstate NY
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    6,486
    Perhaps this could be useful. I haven't read through all of it yet.

    http://ecophys.utah.edu/uploads/3/1/...835701/407.pdf

    "A Framework for the Incorporation
    of Isotopes and Isoscapes in Geospatial
    Forensic Investigations"

    Particularly this section, perhaps:

    "17.4
    Application of Stable Isotope Analysis to Unsolved
    Murder Investigations"
    Last edited by GGE; 12-23-2015 at 10:36 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    3,351
    Quote Originally Posted by carbuff View Post
    I got this further information from Mmarty:

    Region 1:
    California
    Oregon
    Washington
    Idaho
    Wyoming
    Montana
    Nevada
    Colorado
    Utah
    North Dakota
    South Dakota

    Region 2:
    Montana
    Wyoming
    Idaho
    small areas of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Colorado

    He also mentioned that it's not an exact science, so the edges aren't really precise. He'll try to get us the map next week.
    This has been bothering me for some time now. Wasn't the original owner of the vehicle tracked down in Colorado? So the UID had potentially traveled through Colorado based on the isotopes??? Could the old owner still have some connection to the UID?


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    New England
    Posts
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    Mmarty, you had mentioned that it might be possible to get us a more detailed map of the isotope information. Did anything ever come of that? I know you're busy and working far beyond the call of duty, so if you haven't been able to get to it, we understand.
    Opinions expressed are strictly my own (who else would they belong to???)



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