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Relative age dating exercise

Whether we like it or not the abundance and location of our natural resources has everything to do with geology: how our world was shaped millions of years ago, the type of environments that existed on the continents, and even the organisms that were alive control more of our modern life than you can imagine.

Whether it be problems concerning world population and agriculture, environmental issues or even engineering, it all comes down to geology —but to understand these issues we have to understand the Earth.

The table below shows characteristics of some common radiometric dating methods.

Geologists choose a dating method that suits the materials available in their rocks. Measuring isotopes is particularly useful for dating igneous and some metamorphic rock, but not sedimentary rock.

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Geologists often need to know the age of material that they find.

They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years.

This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.

These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.

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The atoms of some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.

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