From top to bottom: Rounded tan domes of the Navajo Sandstone, layered red Kayenta Formation, cliff-forming, vertically jointed, red Wingate Sandstone, slope-forming, purplish Chinle Formation, layered, lighter-red Moenkopi Formation, and white, layered Cutler Formation sandstone.
What is relative and absolute dating
Short Answer: Both relative dating and absolute dating are tools used to give temporal characteristics to a sequence of events.
Both are attempting to get information on the history of events.
Your goal is to study the smooth, parallel layers of rock to learn how the land built up over geologic time.
Now imagine that you come upon a formation like this: What do you think of it? How can you make any conclusions about rock layers that make such a crazy arrangement?
Free 5-day trial Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age.
Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past.
One way to find the age of a xenolith or subsidence area surrounded by volcanic debris is to correlate its layers with the layers of wall or parent rocks.
Stratigraphy is the study of sedimentary rock layers.
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.
Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.