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

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Relative dating cannot establish absolute age, but it can establish whether one rock is older or younger than another.

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.

From top to bottom: Rounded tan domes of the Navajo Sandstone, layered red Kayenta Formation, cliff-forming, vertically jointed, red Wingate Sandstone, slope-forming, purplish Chinle Formation, layered, lighter-red Moenkopi Formation, and white, layered Cutler Formation sandstone.

Picture from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.

Relative dating is the science of determining the relative order of past events (i.e., the age of an object in comparison to another), without necessarily determining their absolute age, (i.e. In geology, rock or superficial deposits, fossils and lithologies can be used to correlate one stratigraphic column with another.

Prior to the discovery of radiometric dating which provided a means of absolute dating in the early 20th century, archaeologists and geologists used this technique to determine ages of materials.

is a way to use geometric relationships between rock bodies to determine the sequence of geologic events in an area.

Relative dating is different from absolute dating in which specific dates are assigned to geologic events (we will discuss absolute dating techniques later).

This aspect of Werner's model was useful for explaining the origin of tilted sedimentary rocks.

(dark brown) Flat lying sedimentary rocks were eventually precipitated.

When geologists study layers of rocks, they get a glimpse of the past.

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