Absolute and relative dating
However, prior to the discovery of radioactivity, geologists had no proven method of numerical dating and instead had to rely solely on relative dating.Essentially, relative dating places rocks in their proper sequence of formation, e.g. Although relative dating cannot give us numeric dates for events that took place, it does provide useful information on what event followed or preceded another event.What these people were seeking was a numerical date of Earths age.Numerical dates pinpoint the time in history when an event took place, such as the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.See our current news blog: Digging the Fossil Record Also check out our plans for our Deep Time exhibit hall, to open in 2019 And check out the links on the side bar to the left.Throughout the centuries mankind has striven to try to determine the exact age of Earth.Our current understanding of radioactivity allows scientists to use the natural radioactivity of certain elements in rocks to accurately determine their numerical dates.
Unlike people, you can’t really guess the age of a rock from looking at it.Yet, you’ve heard the news: Earth is 4.6 billion years old. That corn cob found in an ancient Native American fire pit is 1,000 years old. Geologic age dating—assigning an age to materials—is an entire discipline of its own.