Fingerprints are classified according to the direction of the ridges. The three types are arches, loops, and whorls. The Arches occur in about 5% of the patterns of the fingerprints. In this type, the ridges run from either side of the finger and do not turn backward. Usually, the arch has no delta but if present, a re-curving ridge must not come between the core and the delta points. The arch patterns occur in four patterns namely; tented, plain, ulnar and radial arches. The ridges in the plain arches flow from one side to the other and have no upthrusts. The ridges from one side and follow the pattern to the other side with a small wave or rise in the middle. For the radial arches, the ridges slope to the thumb, and there is a delta but no ridges with a re-curve. The ulna arches have ridges sloping to the small finger, have a delta but do not have recurving ridges. In the tented fingerprints, there is an angle and an upthrust, also there can be some loop characteristics. The tented arches have an up thrust and an edge. It also has two or more loop characteristics. Also, the ridges have an up thrusts near the center that come from the two sides of the spine and converge to form tents. There is no smooth flow of ridges like in the plain arches pattern.
The second type of fingerprints is the loop. Loops are found in about 60-70 % of fingerprint patterns presented. One or more of the ridges come from either side of the impression, where it re-curves, touches the line which runs from the delta to the core and ends on the end where the ridge or ridges came from. The pattern of the loop has one delta, and a ridge count. Radial loops come from the name radius which a bone in the forearm that joins the hand on the side of the thumb. Pattern flow in radial loops goes to the radius direction, which is towards the thumb. Radial loops are uncommon and mostly radial loops are found on the index fingers. Ulnar loops are named after a bone in the forearm known as the ulna. The ulna is on the same side as the little finger. Ulnar loop pattern runs in the direction of the ulna, which is towards the little finger.
Whorls occur in about 25-35 % of fingerprint patterns presented. In this pattern, some of the ridges make a circuit. A fingerprint pattern which has more than two deltas is a whorl pattern. The whorl patterns occur in four types. Plain whorls have one or more ridges which make a complete circuit with two deltas, drawing an imaginary line and at least one re-curving ridge which touches the inner pattern area. Central pocket loop whorls have at least one re-curving ridge and two deltas, and when an imaginary line is drawn, the pattern area does not recurve. In this pattern, ridges make a complete circuit which is spiral, oval, circular or any form of a circle. Double loop whorls consist of two separate and distinct loops which have separate and distinct shoulders in the middle, two deltas and a complete circuit for the one or more ridges. For the accidental whorls, there are two different pattern types except for the plain arch. They have two or more patterns or deltas which have the characteristics of the two or more kinds or have the pattern which is not found among the others.
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