4 rules of relative dating
Relative dating uses the principles or laws of stratigraphy to order sequences of rock strata.Relative dating not only determines which layers are older or younger, but also gives insight into the paleoenvironments that formed the particular sequence of rock.Prior to the discovery of radiometric dating in the early 20th century, which provided a means of absolute dating, archaeologists and geologists used relative dating to determine ages of materials.Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.This law was independently discovered by William Smith (1769-1839), a British engineer, while working on excavations for canals in England (Winchester, 2002 p.
Nicolas Steno, William Smith, Georges Cuvier, Alexandre Brongniart, and James Hutton developed the basic rules for the science of stratigraphy.
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In undisturbed rock layers, the oldest layer is at the bottom and the youngest layer is at the top.
Examples include fractures, faults, and igneous intrusions.
Igneous intrusions are sometimes referred to as a seperate principle, the Hutton’s theory of uniformatarianism and the principles of stratigraphy would be fully developed and made popular by another Scottish geologist Charles Lyell (1797-1875) with his classic three volume work, first published from 1830 to 1833, entitled The science of stratigraphy changed humans’ view of the world from one, which was static to one that was dynamic and changing.
The realization that sediments turn into rock was counter to the view that all rocks on Earth formed in a single creation event.