Absolute dating geology

Throughout the history of life, different organisms have appeared, flourished and become extinct.

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Relative dating techniques provide geologists abundant evidence of the incredible vastness of geologic time and ancient age of many rocks and formations.

However, in order to place absolute dates on the relative time scale, other dating methods must be considered.

Suppose you find a fossil at one place that cannot be dated using absolute methods.

That fossil species may have been dated somewhere else, so you can match them and say that your fossil has a similar age.

Absolute dating places events or rocks at a specific time.

If a geologist claims to be younger than his or her co-worker, that is a relative age.

Gaps in the geologic record, called unconformities, are common where deposition stopped and erosion removed the previously deposited material.

Fortunately, distinctive features such as index fossils can aid in matching, or correlating, rocks and formations from several incomplete areas to create a more complete geologic record for relative dating.

Simply stated, each bed in a sequence of sedimentary rocks (or layered volcanic rocks) is younger than the bed below it and older than the bed above it.

This law follows two basic assumptions: (1) the beds were originally deposited near horizontal, and (2) the beds were not overturned after their deposition.

Relative dating does not provide actual numerical dates for the rocks.

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