Relative dating of sedimentary rocks

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Pretty obvious that the dike came after the rocks it cuts through, right?

With absolute age dating, you get a real age in actual years.

In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.

There are two basic approaches: relative age dating, and absolute age dating.

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The half-life of carbon 14, for example, is 5,730 years.The most obvious feature of sedimentary rock is its layering.This feature is produced by changes in deposition over time.On the other hand, the half-life of the isotope potassium 40 as it decays to argon is 1.26 billion years.So carbon 14 is used to date materials that aren’t that old geologically, say in the tens of thousands of years, while potassium-argon dating can be used to determine the ages of much older materials, in the millions and billions year range.

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