Explain relative dating

Typically commonly occurring fossils that had a widespread geographic distribution such as brachiopods, trilobites, and ammonites work best as index fossils.If the fossil you are trying to date occurs alongside one of these index fossils, then the fossil you are dating must fall into the age range of the index fossil. In a hypothetical example, a rock formation contains fossils of a type of brachiopod known to occur between 410 and 420 million years.Then after another 5,000 years half of the remaining parent isotope will have decayed.While people are most familiar with carbon dating, carbon dating is rarely applicable to fossils.Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated?

Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.For example if you have a fossil trilobite and it was found in the Wheeler Formation.Continue Reading Relative age comes up often in various fields, such as archeology.If archaeologists find a site with layers in it, they can make assumptions about the relative age based on the composition of materials in each layer.

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