List and describe three laws or principles of relative dating
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Find a degree that fits your goals. What is Relative Dating? Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past. We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity! Try it risk-free for 30 days. An error occurred trying to load this video. Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support. Register to view this lesson Are you a student or a teacher?
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Principles of Radiometric Dating. Are you still watching? Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds. Add to Add to Add to. Want to watch this again later? Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time. Numerical and Relative Geological Dating. Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating. What is Relative Age? How to Interpret Events from Natural Phenomena. Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Absolute Time in Geology.
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Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age. Now imagine that you come upon a formation like this: Example of a rock layer that is not smooth or parallel What do you think of it? Original Horizontality In order to establish relative dates, geologists must make an initial assumption about the way rock strata are formed. Law of Superposition Once we assume that all rock layers were originally horizontal, we can make another assumption: Let's look at these rock strata here: Example of rock with five layers We have five layers total.
Now, what if instead of being horizontal, this rock layer was found in a tilted position? Whatever caused this formation to tilt happened after the strata was formed. Cross-Cutting Relationships We follow this same idea, with a few variations, when we talk about cross-cutting relationships in rock.
Whatever caused this igneous intrusion occurred after the strata formed. Try it risk-free No obligation, cancel anytime. Want to learn more? Select a subject to preview related courses: Inclusions and Unconformities Sometimes, geologists find strange things inside the strata, like chunks of metamorphic or igneous rock. The Great Unconformity of the Grand Canyon Well, following the Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships, we can tell that whatever deformed the shales - probably an earthquake - must have occurred before any of the upper sandstones were deposited.
Lesson Summary Geologists establish the relative ages of rocks mostly through their understanding of stratigraphic succession. Learning Outcomes After watching this video lesson, you'll be able to: Describe the Principle of Original Horizontality, the Law of Superposition and the Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships Explain what inclusions and unconformities are Summarize how geologists utilize the laws of relative dating to establish the relative ages of rocks, using the Grand Canyon as an example.
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Email Email is required. Email is not a valid email. The principle of inclusions states that any inclusion is older than the rock that contains it. Steno's idea that fossils are older than the rock in which they are found hints at this principle, but Hutton is most often given credit for this principle.
The Grand Canyon and Relative Dating
Steno developed these principles in the context water deposited sediment. It is not clear he was aware of igneous rock formed from lava flows. The principle of faunal succession states that fossil organisms succeed one another in a definite, irreversible, and determinable order. This law was independently discovered by William Smith , a British engineer, while working on excavations for canals in England Winchester, p.
Brongniart was the first to use fossils to date rock strata. James Hutton is often considered the father of geology. Hutton developed the theory of uniformatarianism , which states that geologic events are caused by natural processes, many of which are operating in our own time. Put another way, the natural laws that we know about in the present have been constant over the geologic past. The concept of geologic time or deep time was a logical consequence of this theory. The unconformity consists of many vertical tilted layers of grey shale overlaid by many layers of horizontal red sandstone.
Playfair later commented that, "the mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time. Hutton gives us three more laws to consider when seeking relative dates for rock layers, one of which, the law of inclusions was described earlier.