Post Mortem Interval Estimation 1361 Temperature

Temperature is the most critical parameter taken into account for PMI estimation (accumulation degree day and accumulation degree hours method: ADD and ADH (Marchenko 2001)). While such parameters are rather easy to collect by own measurement and/or collection of weather station data, the situation is different for burial scenes. Data between underground, surface and ambient temperatures (weather station: 1.2 m hight) are different and depend on several parameters. Fluctuations are reduced underground in comparison with the surface. It is difficult to consider which temperature is most representative of the condition in which the corpses decayed because data are rarely available.

Rodriguez and Bass (1985) observed increase of cadaver temperature over soil temperature recorded at the same depth. They highlighted that the mean temperature differential was directly proportional to the depth of burial: +3.4°C at 1.2 m; +5°C at 0.6 m; +7-10°C at 0.3 m.

Vanlaerhoven and Anderson (1999) suggested that soil temperature was the best indicator to estimate the PMI with insects that have developed on a buried corpse, better than weather station data.

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