The difference between relative and absolute dating

Absolute dating of rock is achieved by radiometric dating techniques.Relative dating is achieved by determining the position of rock in strata, and the appearance of certain index fossils.Similarly, relative dating is done by paleontologists who find layers of fossils.By deducing which fossils are formed in the sequence of time, the periods when the particular fossilized entities existed can be arranged in order without the actual dates of when the fossils were laid down.Relative dating was a precursor to absolute dating.Before absolute dating techniques were discovered, the age of a rock was a guesstimate at best.Radioactive dating allows us to find an approximate date. Relative age dating is a scientific process of evaluation used to determine the relative order of past events, but does not determine the absolute age of an object or date of an event.So if something is dated about a thousand years ago plus or minus… Relative dating gives a relative answer -10 years after the end of the civil war. Both relative dating and absolute dating are complimentary tools tools used to assign temporal characteristics to a sequence of events.

Absolute dating tells us exactly how old a material or object is, while relative dating tells us how much older or younger the material or object is as compared to another.

Very often historical evidence is found in layers and older layers are further down that the top layers.

For example: If an archaeologist is studying past civilizations, the archaeologist may be able to say that in a particular location the ruins of one civilization were found to have been built on another and so the layers unearthed in an excavation convey the sequence of historical occupations without revealing the actual dates.

However, carbon dating is an absolute dating technique that can give an estimate of the actual age of an artifact and thus an estimate of the age of other objects in the same layer.

Carbon dating is one example of radiometric dating.

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