Relative dating is the science of determining the relative order of past events without necessarily determining their absolute age (i.e.
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What does relative dating mean?
This follows due to the fact that sedimentary rock is produced from the gradual accumulation of sediment on the surface. Therefore newer sediment is continually deposited on top of previously deposited or older sediment. In other words, as sediment fills a depositional basins we would expect the upper most surface of the sediment to be parallel to the horizon. Subsequent layers would follow the same pattern. As sediment weathers and erodes from its source, and as long as it is does not encounter any physical barriers to its movement, the sediment will be deposited in all directions until it thins or fades into a different sediment type.
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For purposes of relative dating this principle is used to identify faults and erosional features within the rock record. The principle of cross-cutting states that any geologic feature that crosses other layers or rock must be younger then the material it cuts across.
Using this principle any fault or igneous intrusion must be younger than all material it or layers it crosses. Once a rock is lithified no other material can be incorporated within its internal structure. In order for any material to be included within in the rock it must have been present at the time the rock was lithified. For example, in order to get a pebble inside an igneous rock it must be incorporated when the igneous rock is still molten-- such as when lava flows over the surface.
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Therefore, the piece, or inclusion, must be older than the material it is included in. Lastly the Principle of Fossil Succession. Ocean Drilling as Evidence for Plate Tectonics.
Absolute Time in Geology. What is Relative Age? Major Triggers for Mass Wasting: Base Level of a Stream: Classification of Metamorphic Rocks: Introduction to Physical Geology: Intro to Natural Sciences. Middle School Earth Science: Weather and Climate Science: UExcel Weather and Climate: Guns, Germs, and Steel Study Guide. Holt McDougal Introduction to Geography: Ask a question Our experts can answer your tough homework and study questions. Ask a question Ask a question.
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What is the definition of relative dating?
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