Relative age dating principles

The same idea applies to fault lines that slide rock layers apart from each other; a fault that cuts across a set of strata must have occurred after the formation of that set.Geologists find the cross-cutting principle especially useful for establishing the relative ages of faults and igneous intrusions in sedimentary rocks.Now, what if instead of being horizontal, this rock layer was found in a tilted position?

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Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past.

We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!

Long before geologists tried to quantify the age of the Earth they developed techniques to determine which geologic events preceded another, what are termed "relative age” relationships.

These techniques were first articulated by Nicolas Steno, a Dane living in the Medici court of Italy in the 17th C.

Imagine that you're a geologist, studying the amazing rock formations of the Grand Canyon.

Your goal is to study the smooth, parallel layers of rock to learn how the land built up over geologic time.

Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.

Free 5-day trial Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age.

Relative dating requires an extensive knowledge of stratigraphic succession, a fancy term for the way rock strata are built up and changed by geologic processes.

In this lesson, we'll learn a few basic principles of stratigraphic succession and see whether we can find relative dates for those strange strata we found in the Grand Canyon.

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