Latent Fingermark Aging Patterns (Part IV): Ridge Width as One Indicator of Degradation

Josep De Alcaraz-Fossoul, Carme Barrot Feixat, Sara C. Zapico, Luke McGarr, Clara Carreras-Marin, Jack Tasker, Manel Gené Badia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This fourth article of the series is taking an in-depth analysis at the visible aging of latent fingermarks regarding changes in ridge widths over time. The objective is to quantify and statistically describe significant ridge size variations under controlled indoor conditions. The effect of three environmental variables are examined: type of secretion (sebaceous- and eccrine-rich) and type of substrate (glass and polystyrene) when aged in three light conditions (direct natural light, shade, and dark). Prior to width measurements, fresh and aged fingermarks were powdered with titanium dioxide (TiO2) and sequentially photographed at predetermined times over 6 months. Three independent observers measured the ridges from thirty predetermined locations using strategically placed intersecting lines on the print. Results indicate that fingermarks deposited on glass are more resilient to degradation compared with those deposited on plastic. The presence of direct natural light plays a negligible role on degradation compared to secretion and substrate types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1066
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


  • aging
  • degradation
  • forensic science
  • latent fingermarks
  • ridge widths
  • titanium dioxide


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