What is relative dating

Relative dating helps determine what came first and what followed, but doesn't help determine actual age.

Radiometric dating, or numeric dating, determines an actual or approximate age of an object by studying the rate of decay of radioactive isotopes, such as uranium, potassium, rubidium and carbon-14 within that object. This rate provides scientists with an accurate measurement system to determine age.

Imagine that throughout your life you’ve taken many pictures. Certain groups of fossil animals and plants occur in the geologic record in a specific order.

Rather than putting them into a photo album they are stacked up in a box. If a scientist finds one of those fossils, they can then assume the age of the rock based on the age of the fossil.

Rock layers represent "historical events," so a rock layer is like a page in the book of Earth's geologic history. There are five different pictures of one rock sequence throughout time.

Number the pictures from one to five with one being the oldest and five being the youngest.

Relative dating is an older method of placing events on the calendar of time.

Once something dies, it ceases taking in new carbon-14, and the existing carbon-14 within the organism decays into nitrogen at a fixed rate.Continue Reading Relative dating observes the placement of fossils and rock in layers known as strata.Basically, fossils and rock found in lower strata are older than those found in higher strata because lower objects must have been deposited first, while higher objects were deposited last. If you did it like many people, you based your sentences on what you know normally happens when you make a lunch.This is similar to what geologists do to determine age.

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