Perils on the High Seas: The Effects of Submersion and Containment on Human Decomposition in Saltwater
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Robert Ulin
Dr. Pamela Stone
Dr. Gail Anderson
Dr. Allen Zagarell
Masters Thesis-Open Access
Forensic analysis of decomposing human remains in a submerged and contained aquatic environment is an area of research that lacks systematic evaluation and hinders the ability to accurately determine time since death/submersion. Expanding our understanding of how submersion and containment affects the known taphonomic agents pursuant to aquatic environments will contribute to the knowledge base on human decomposition in a multitude of environments.
In response to this limited knowledge base, this thesis reviews ten marine and air incidents occurring along the coast of British Columbia, Canada in which the bodies of eighteen individuals were recovered from inside the submerged wreckage of ships, aircrafts, and automobiles to ascertain if the microenvironment contained within the vessels alters known taphonomic agents. This thesis also looks at leaked fuel as a potential taphonomic agent that has been previously overlooked in the published literature. Although the information garnered here is limited, it will contribute to the discussion of human decomposition in a multitude of environments.
Sotkowy, Celene Aundrea, "Perils on the High Seas: The Effects of Submersion and Containment on Human Decomposition in Saltwater" (2008). Masters Theses. 3964.