Paleontology relative dating

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Try it risk-free Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age.

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Now imagine that you come upon a formation like this: What do you think of it? How can you make any conclusions about rock layers that make such a crazy arrangement?

Geologists establish the age of rocks in two ways: numerical dating and relative dating.

Paleontology has played a key role in reconstructing Earth’s history and has provided much evidence to support the theory of evolution.

Data from paleontological studies, moreover, have aided petroleum geologists in locating deposits of oil and natural gas.

Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past.

We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!

Now, what if instead of being horizontal, this rock layer was found in a tilted position?

What could a geologist say about that section of rock?

Relative dating requires an extensive knowledge of stratigraphic succession, a fancy term for the way rock strata are built up and changed by geologic processes.

In this lesson, we'll learn a few basic principles of stratigraphic succession and see whether we can find relative dates for those strange strata we found in the Grand Canyon.

We're not so sure about the next layer down, but the one below it is 100 million years old. Not exactly, but we do know that it's somewhere between 70 and 100 million years old.

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