Laws of relative dating geology
(light brown) Next, fossil-rich sedimentary rocks were precipitated.
These rocks are tilted due to deposition on the non-horizontal surfaces of primitive rocks.
The Permian through Jurassic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah is a great example of Original Horizontality and the Law of Superposition, two important ideas used in relative dating.
These strata make up much of the famous prominent rock formations in widely spaced protected areas such as Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
With this in mind geologist have long known that the deeper a sedimentary rock layer is the older it is, but how old?
Although there might be some mineral differences due to the difference in source rock, most sedimentary rock deposited year after year look very similar to one another.
The secondary rocks were thought to include interlayered basalts, which Werner thought formed by combustion of buried coal layers.
The Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726-1797) argued that granite and basalt by solidification within the earth (as opposed to precipitating in from oceanwater).
Relative time can not determine the actual year a material was deposited or how long deposition lasted; it simply tell us which events came first.
The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of 'relative dating' as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century.
The regular order of occurrence of fossils in rock layers was discovered around 1800 by William Smith.
Relative dating uses the principles or laws of stratigraphy to order sequences of rock strata.
Relative dating not only determines which layers are older or younger, but also gives insight into the paleoenvironments that formed the particular sequence of rock.