Despite seeming like a relatively stable place, the Earth's surface has changed dramatically over the past 4. Mountains have been built and eroded, continents and oceans have moved great distances, and the Earth has fluctuated from being extremely cold and almost completely covered with ice to being very warm and ice-free. These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing. As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.
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Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence. Relative dating does not provide actual numerical dates for the rocks. Fossils are important for working out the relative ages of sedimentary rocks. Geologists are able to ‘read’ the rock layers using relative and absolute dating techniques. Relative dating arranges geological events – and the rocks they leave behind – in a sequence. The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy (layers of rock are called.
The simplest and most intuitive way of dating geological features is to look at the relationships between them.
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Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence. The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy layers of rock are called strata. Relative dating does not provide actual numerical dates for the rocks. Next time you find a cliff or road cutting with lots of rock strata, try working out the age order using some simple principles:.