3 Types of Fingerprint Patterns


No two people on earth, not even identical twins, have the same fingerprints because fingerprints are not determined by genetics. That is what makes fingerprint scanning technology Coral Gables FL so useful for purposes of identification, security, and forensics. However, fingerprints tend to follow certain patterns. It is the unique combinations of these common patterns that results in distinctive individual fingerprints.

1. Loop

The loop is the most common type of fingerprint pattern, present in 60% to 70% of the population. A loop follows a vaguely triangular shape called a delta with a central core in the middle. If the pattern curves toward the small finger of the hand, it is called an ulnar loop after the longer bone in the forearm. If the pattern curves in the opposite direction, toward the thumb, it is called a radial loop after the other forearm bone.

2. Whorl

A whorl is a round pattern resembling a circle or a spiral. It occurs in 25% to 35% of the population. Sometimes the ridges in the center of the pattern will form a separate round shape within the larger pattern. This is called a central pocket whorl. Otherwise, a plain whorl is an unbroken circular pattern.

3. Arch

About 5% of the world’s population has the arch pattern. This is characterized by raised ridges that extend in a continuous fashion from one side of the finger to the other. There are no deltas, as with a loop pattern, nor a core, as there may be with a whorl pattern. A tented arch has a sharper edge than a plain arch because of a significant difference in pitch. In the former case, these produce a more pointed shape that resembles a simple tent.

An accidental fingerprint type is one that doesn’t follow its own recognizable pattern but includes characteristics of at least two of the others. Accidental patterns still result in a uniquely identifiable fingerprint.