3 laws of relative age dating
If a geologist claims to be younger than his or her co-worker, that is a relative age.If a geologist claims to be 45 years old, that is an absolute age.
But in some families, multiple marriages, delayed childbearing, extended childbearing or other variations mixes up generations so that Aunt Julia may be five years younger than her nephew. How do Steno’s laws help geologists to decipher the geological history of a region? In many places, especially the national parks, the formations are fantastic. The principles discussed below are easily seen around the Southwest.
The unconformity was discovered by James Hutton in the 1700s.
Hutton saw that the lower rock layers are very old. There are no layers in between the ancient and recent layers.
In a family like this it’s hard to tell how people are related simply by age. Early geologists had no way to determine the absolute age of a geological material.
With rock units we use certain principles to tell their ages relative to each other. If they didn’t see it form, they couldn’t know if a rock was one hundred years or 100 million years old.
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Hutton thought that the intermediate rock layers eroded away before the more recent rock layers were deposited.