Absolute dating vs relative dating fossils gridview rowupdating textbox new value

Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence.

The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy (layers of rock are called strata).

Though using similar methods, these two techniques differ in certain ways that will be discussed in this article.

As the name implies, relative dating can tell which of the two artifacts is older.

These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.

As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.

It is possible to tell the number of years ago a particular rock or archeological site had been formed.

Mountains have been built and eroded, continents and oceans have moved great distances, and the Earth has fluctuated from being extremely cold and almost completely covered with ice to being very warm and ice-free.

For example, based on the primate fossil record, scientists know that living primates evolved from fossil primates and that this evolutionary history took tens of millions of years.

By comparing fossils of different primate species, scientists can examine how features changed and how primates evolved through time.

Some fossils, called index fossils, are particularly useful in correlating rocks.

For a fossil to be a good index fossil, it needs to have lived during one specific time period, be easy to identify and have been abundant and found in many places. If you find ammonites in a rock in the South Island and also in a rock in the North Island, you can say that both rocks are Mesozoic.

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Techniques include tree rings in timbers, radiocarbon dating of wood or bones, and trapped charge dating methods such as thermoluminescence dating of glazed ceramics.

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