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Relative dating requires an extensive knowledge of stratigraphic succession, a fancy term for the way rock strata are built up and changed by geologic processes.In this lesson, we'll learn a few basic principles of stratigraphic succession and see whether we can find relative dates for those strange strata we found in the Grand Canyon.The same idea applies to fault lines that slide rock layers apart from each other; a fault that cuts across a set of strata must have occurred after the formation of that set.

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Let's say we find out, through numerical dating, that the rock layer shown above is 70 million years old.Numerical dating determines the actual ages of rocks through the study of radioactive decay.Relative dating cannot establish absolute age, but it can establish whether one rock is older or younger than another.Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.Try it risk-free Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age.

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