Dating of rock layers

For example, most limestone represents marine environments, whereas, sandstones with ripple marks might indicate a shoreline habitat or riverbed.The study and comparison of exposed rock layers or strata in different areas of Earth led scientists in the early 19th century to propose that the rock layers could be correlated from place to place.

dating of rock layers-79

Dating of rock layers code for dating bone china

Scientists have good evidence that Earth is very old, approximately four and one-half billion years old.

Scientific measurements such as radiometric dating use the natural radioactivity of certain elements found in rocks to help determine their age.

Scientists also use direct evidence from observations of the rock layers themselves to find the relative age of rock layers.

Specific rock formations are indicative of a particular type of environment existing when the rock was being formed.

This would also mean that fossils found in the deepest layer of rocks in an area would represent the oldest forms of life in that particular rock formation.

In reading Earth history, these layers would be read from bottom to top or oldest to most recent.

If certain fossils are typically found only in a certain rock unit and are found in many places worldwide, they may be useful as index or guide fossils in finding the age of undated strata.

The Law of Superposition, which states that in an undisturbed horizontal sequence of rocks the oldest rock layers will be on the bottom, with successively younger rocks on top of these, helps geologists correlate rock layers around the world.

This also means that fossils found in the lowest levels in a sequence of layered rocks represent the oldest record of life there.

By matching partial sequences, the truly oldest layers with fossils can be worked out.

By correlating fossils from various parts of the world, scientists are able to give relative ages to particular strata. Relative dating tells scientists if a rock layer is older or younger than another.

Tags: , ,