What is relative and absolute dating

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Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.Relative dating by biostratigraphy is the preferred method in paleontology and is, in some respects, more accurate.From top to bottom: Rounded tan domes of the Navajo Sandstone, layered red Kayenta Formation, cliff-forming, vertically jointed, red Wingate Sandstone, slope-forming, purplish Chinle Formation, layered, lighter-red Moenkopi Formation, and white, layered Cutler Formation sandstone.Photo from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.however, this process is not enough to allow the layers to change their positions.This principle allows sedimentary layers to be viewed as a form of vertical time line, a partial or complete record of the time elapsed from deposition of the lowest layer to deposition of the highest bed.Explanations: A – folded rock strata cut by a thrust fault; B – large intrusion (cutting through A); C – erosional angular unconformity (cutting off A & B) on which rock strata were deposited; D – volcanic dyke (cutting through A, B & C); E – even younger rock strata (overlying C & D); F – normal fault (cutting through A, B, C & E).

Due to that discovery, Smith was able to recognize the order that the rocks were formed.

A similar situation with igneous rocks occurs when xenoliths are found.

These foreign bodies are picked up as magma or lava flows, and are incorporated, later to cool in the matrix.

There are a number of different types of intrusions, including stocks, laccoliths, batholiths, sills and dikes.

Cross-cutting relations can be used to determine the relative ages of rock strata and other geological structures.

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