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In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.There are two basic approaches: relative age dating, and absolute age dating.The process of putting things in a "correct order" based on experience is called relative dating.Relative dating is determining whether an object is older or younger than other objects or events.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.
In addition, basic geologic principles can be applied to resolving the order of events leading to the formation of rocks and landscape features. Cross Sections - interpretations of vertical views of geologic features below the surface.
Where are the oldest pictures, by year, going to be in your stack? Often igneous intrusions will cut across layers of rock.
The principle of cross-cutting relationships states that the intrusions are younger than the rock they cut.
Everything around us is made of chemical compounds that have testable and identifying characteristics, allowing them to be classified, and their age determined.
This also applies to rocks, minerals, and derivative materials (such as sediments and soil).