Relative age dating geology

In fact, Paul already knows that coelophysis lived around 200 million years ago, while iguanodon lived around 150 million years ago.

So, what if Paul found that superus awesomus dinosaur fossil in this middle layer?

Recently, he appeared on the evening news to talk about a new dinosaur he just discovered. Paul says he can tell from the fossils that superus awesomus lived on Earth about 175 million years ago.

relative age dating geology-6

Scientists know that the layers they see in sedimentary rock were built up in a certain order, from bottom to top.

When they find a section of rock that has a lot of different strata, they can assume that the bottom-most layer is the oldest and the top-most layer is the youngest.

Free 5-day trial Learn how scientists determine the ages of rocks and fossils.

We'll explore both relative and numerical dating on our quest to understand the process of geological dating.

Relative age allows scientists to know whether something is older or younger than something else, while absolute age means that scientists know the exact number in years that have passed since the object was created.

Relative age will require the comparison of two or more objects, whereas absolute age does not.

Let's say that Paul the Paleontologist found an iguanodon fossil in the light green layer shown above.

And, he also found a coelophysis fossil in the yellow layer. Of course, the coelophysis, which means that coelophysis came before iguanodon.

Scientists piece together a story of how one event came before or after another.

Relative dating cannot tell us the actual age of a rock; it can only tell us whether one rock is older or younger than another.

For example, if an area used for trash has modern refuse in it such as CDs and computers, and the layer underneath has cans made of tin, then it is safe to say the layer of tin cans have a greater relative age than the layer with modern refuse.

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