Media Contact: Fred Strohl

Research focuses on locating unmarked graves


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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sept. 16, 2013 -- A University of Tennessee graduate student’s research with Oak Ridge National Laboratory could someday help in locating unmarked graves sites.

Katie Corcoran is working ORNL’s computational sciences group in utilizing technology to study terrain and other geographical factors common around grave sites that could lead to pinpointing unknown burial locations.

“One of the ways that we’re doing that is looking into spectral imagery in order to help us see grave signatures beyond the visible spectrum,” Corcoran said. “In addition to that, we are combining a method for 3-D modeling and 3-D scanning to compare patterns and the footprints that graves leave. When you combine that with the spectral imagery, you can see if there are any differences or patterns.”

ORNL’s computational sciences capability enables the large amount of information collected through these studies to be analyzed with hopes of gaining a better understanding of locating unmarked graves.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit


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