Arpad Vass at work, 2004
Decomposition deposits a pattern of elements such as calcium, magnesium, and iron into the soil under the body. It takes a long time for these concentrations to disperse but they change slowly over time providing a pattern that can be used to estimate the time of death. Dr. Arpad Vass, one of the researchers at the Forensic Anthropology Center, is studying these patterns.
Courtesy of Tom Tavee