Absolute dating versus relative dating

Mountains have been built and eroded, continents and oceans have moved great distances, and the Earth has fluctuated from being extremely cold and almost completely covered with ice to being very warm and ice-free.These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.Relative dating and radiometric dating are used to determine age of fossils and geologic features, but with different methods.Relative dating uses observation of location within rock layers, while radiometric dating uses data from the decay of radioactive substances within an object.Relative dating puts geologic events in chronological order without requiring that a specific numerical age be assigned to each event.Second, it is possible to determine the numerical age for fossils or earth materials.

The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.Relative dating observes the placement of fossils and rock in layers known as strata.Basically, fossils and rock found in lower strata are older than those found in higher strata because lower objects must have been deposited first, while higher objects were deposited last.As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.

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