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Say for example that a volcanic dike, or a fault, cuts across several sedimentary layers, or maybe through another volcanic rock type.
Pretty obvious that the dike came after the rocks it cuts through, right?
Activity: Further discussion: Good overview as relates to the Grand Canyon: age dating: Use with this cross section of the Grand Canyon from the USGS’s teaching page: Canyon Have students reconstruct a simple geologic history — which are the oldest rocks shown? Are there any that you can’t tell using the Rule of Superposition?
Look for “absolute” ages such as cornerstones, dates carved into fresh concrete, or dates stamped on manhole covers.The half-life of carbon 14, for example, is 5,730 years.On the other hand, the half-life of the isotope potassium 40 as it decays to argon is 1.26 billion years.No bones about it, fossils are important age markers.But the most accurate forms of absolute age dating are radiometric methods. Sedimentary rocks in particular are notoriously radioactive-free zones.
With absolute age dating, you get a real age in actual years.