Applied Research

Geoforensics and Information Management for crime Investigation (GIMI)

Robert FitzpatrickProject Staff - Robert William Fitzpatrick

Dr Robert William Fitzpatrick

Chief Research Scientist: CSIRO Land and Water,
Director: Centre for Australian Forensic Soil Science (CAFSS)
Stream Leader: Advanced Analytical Techniques in Biogeochemistry, CSIRO Land and Water
Affiliate Associate Professor: Soil & Land Systems and Geology & Geophysics Disciplines within the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences of the University Adelaide.

CSIRO Land and Water
Private Bag No. 2,
South Australia,

Tel: 61-8- 8303 8511
Mobile: 61- 0408 824215
Fax: 61-8- 8303 8550



CAFSS Website:

Current research activities

Rob Fitzpatrick leads the Advanced Analytical Techniques in Biogeochemistry research stream, within the Environmental Biogeochemistry research theme. Rob is also the inaugural Director of the Centre for Australian Forensic Soil Science (CAFSS). He is based in Adelaide and is also an Affiliate Associate Professor in Geology & Geophysics and Soil & Land Systems disciplines within the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences of the University Adelaide.


Dr Fitzpatrick’s research interests are principally in pedology, mineralogy, biogeochemistry and spatial analysis as applied to soil-landscape processes, and advanced techniques to characterise, map and monitor acid sulfate soils in the environment.

Current Research

Development of :

  • Field and laboratory methods for identifying, characterising and mapping occurrence of various saline, sodic and acid sulfate soil-water systems.
  • Combined quantitative techniques for geochemical and mineralogical analyses using advanced XRD, XRF, synchrotron, DTA/TGA, IR and mineral magnetic techniques.
  • Soil-landscape process models to better understand soil properties that change in landscapes with time - by incorporating, advanced pedological/regolith research, mineralogical investigations, biogeochemistry, terrain analyses and remote sensing.
  • The first formal worldwide network of soil and forensic scientists that will maintain a critical mass of research expertise in soil forensics to fight crime, terrorism and environmental pollution.
  • Planning tools in the form of user-friendly manuals, books, pamphlets and consulting reports for a diversity of purposes in relation to agricultural, viticultural, and mining industries, public telecommunications agencies, surface water quality problems, urban planning, forensic science and military research.

Recent Publications

Fitzpatrick R.W (2004). Soil Classification in Australia. In Hillel et al. (Eds). Encyclopaedia of Soils in the Environment. Academic Press, London, UK. 2003.

Fitzpatrick R.W., J.W Cox, B. Munday, and J. Bourne, (2003). Development of soil- landscape and vegetation indicators for managing waterlogged and saline catchments.  Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture: 43 245-252.

Skwarnecki, M.S. and Fitzpatrick R.W. (2003).  Regional geochemical dispersion in acid sulfate soils in relation to base-metal mineralisation of the Kanmantoo Group, Mt Torrens-Strathalbyn region, eastern Mt Lofty Ranges, South Australia.  CRC LEME Report No 185R  pp. 68.

Fitzpatrick R.W., B Powell, N.J. McKenzie, D.J. Maschmedt, N. Schoknecht and D.W. Jacquier. (2003). Demands on Soil Classification in Australia. P 77-100. In H. Eswaran, T. Rice, R. Ahrens and B.A. Stewart (Eds) Soil Classification: A Global Desk Reference.  CRC Press LLC Boco Raton. FL.

Fitzpatrick R.W. and D.J. Chittleborough (2002). Titanium and Zirconium Minerals. p 667 – 690. In J.B. Dixon and D. G. Schulze (ed.). Soil Mineralogy with Environmental Applications. Soil Science Society  America Book Series No 7. SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin.

Bigham J.M. R.W. Fitzpatrick and D.G. Schulze (2002) Iron Oxides. P 323 – 366. In J.B. Dixon and D. G. Schulze (ed.). Soil Mineralogy with, Environmental Applications. Soil Science Society America Book Series No 7. SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin.

Fitzpatrick R.W., P.M. Slade, and P. Hazelton (2001). Chapter 3 - Soil-related engineering problems: identification and remedial measures. p. 27-36. In V. A.  Gostin (ed.) Gondwana to Greenhouse: Australian  Environmental geoscience. Geological Society of Australia Special Publication 21. GSA, Australia.