What is relative dating

relative dating

Relative age dating is used to order geological events and the rocks they leave behind. The process of interpreting the order is known as stratigraphy (layers of rock are called strata). Relative age dating does not yield precise numerical dates for the rocks.

What is the basic difference between relative and absolute dating?

The primary distinction between absolute and relative age dating is that absolute dating establishes the numerical age of a rock or fossil, whereas relative age dating determines the relative age. Furthermore, absolute dating may be accomplished via radiometric dating, whereas relative age is established in relation to other strata.
Absolute dating and relative age dating are two approaches used in geology to determine the age of rocks.

Relative age dating techniques

Climate chronology, dendrochronology, ice core sampling, and stray radiocarbon dating are all examples of relative age dating techniques.
Ice core sampling is one example. Drilling core samples of ice in glaciated locations, such as near the poles yields ice cores. In such cores, visible light and dark rings can be observed, which are subsequently examined to establish the age of the ice. These strata are thought to be the consequence of yearly climatic variations, and uniformitarians claim to have documented ages of over 100,000 years using this approach. Creationists, such as Michael Oard, argue that these laminations are the result of sub-annual occurrences, such as dust layering in a post-flood cold age. He briefly explains this theory here. Observations of many such layers of snow and icing suggest sub-annual development.

Relative age dating methods

Stratigraphy: Stratigraphy allows archaeologists to build a relative chronological sequence from the oldest (bottom) to youngest (top) layers by assuming that soil layers in a deposit accumulate on top of one another and that the bottom layers are older than the top layers. Artifacts discovered in these strata are at least as ancient as the deposit where they were discovered.

Seriation: Seriation, a method used in the mid-twentieth century, examines variations in certain types of objects found at a location. A chronology is built on the premise that one cultural style (or typology) would gradually replace an older style over time.

Fluorine dating: a method of determining how long a specimen has been underground by analyzing how much of the chemical fluorine has been absorbed by bones from the surrounding soils.

Relative age dating principles

Looking at the connections between geological features is the simplest and most natural means of dating them. There are several easy guidelines to follow. However, attention must be exercised since there may be circumstances when the principles are inapplicable; therefore, local elements must be recognized before an interpretation can be established. These are uncommon occurrences, yet they should not be overlooked while delving into a region's geological history.
Sedimentary strata are deposited in succession, with the ones at the bottom being older than those at the top. This may not be the case if the succession of rocks has been entirely turned over by tectonic processes or disturbed by faulting.
According to the idea of original horizontality, sediments are first deposited as horizontal to nearly horizontal sheets. This is true on a large scale, but it may not be true on a smaller size. Cross-bedding, for example, develops at a significant angle when sand is deposited on the lee face of a ripple. The same may be said about delta foreset beds.
According to the concept of lateral continuity, sediments are deposited in such a way that they extend laterally for some distance before thinning and pinching out at the depositional basin's border. Sediments, on the other hand, can end against faults or erosional structures and so may be cut off by local facto. Some of the best dating sites may use this technique.


Relative age dating methods determine if an object is younger or older than other items discovered at the location. Relative age dating does not provide precise dates; it just determines if one item, fossil, or stratigraphic layer is older than another.