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How can scientists use relative dating absolute dating and index fossils to age rocks

For example, rock layers show the sequence of geological events, and the presence and amount of radioactive elements in rocks make it possible to determine their ages. Analyses of rock formations and the fossil record are used to establish relative ages. In an undisturbed column of rock, the youngest rocks are at the top, and the oldest are at the bottom. Rock layers have sometimes been rearranged by tectonic forces; rearrangements can be seen or inferred, such as from inverted sequences of fossil types. The rock record reveals that events on Earth can be catastrophic, occurring over hours to years, or gradual, occurring over thousands to millions of years. Records of fossils and other rocks also show past periods of massive extinctions and extensive volcanic activity.
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Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time

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Geologic Age Dating Explained - Kids Discover

Early history[ edit ] In Ancient Greece , Aristotle BCE observed that fossils of seashells in rocks resembled those found on beaches — he inferred that the fossils in rocks were formed by organisms, and he reasoned that the positions of land and sea had changed over long periods of time. Leonardo da Vinci — concurred with Aristotle's interpretation that fossils represented the remains of ancient life. Steno argued that rock layers or strata were laid down in succession, and that each represents a "slice" of time. He also formulated the law of superposition, which states that any given stratum is probably older than those above it and younger than those below it.
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Dating Fossils – How Are Fossils Dated?

Geology[ edit ] The regular order of the occurrence of fossils in rock layers was discovered around by William Smith. While digging the Somerset Coal Canal in southwest England, he found that fossils were always in the same order in the rock layers. As he continued his job as a surveyor , he found the same patterns across England.
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January Fossils provide a record of the history of life. Smith is known as the Father of English Geology. Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.
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