Relative dating of sedimentary rocks

Steno made careful geologic observations and illustrations.He published the results of his work and established a basic set of principles for interpreting sedimentary strata.This means that a quartz sandstone deposited 500 million years ago will look very similar to a quartz sandstone deposited 50 years ago.Making this processes even more difficult is the fact that due to plate tectonics some rock layers have been uplifted into mountains and eroded while others have subsided to form basins and be buried by younger sediments.Superposition of rock units is a very simple and straightforward method of relative age determination.

How would today's sediments appear to a geologist millions of years in the future examining outcrops of sedimentary rock that originated in our time?Relative time places events or formations in order based on their position within the rock record relative to one another using six principles of relative dating.Relative time can not determine the actual year a material was deposited or how long deposition lasted; it simply tell us which events came first.By the end of the 19th century, geologists had used these principles to put together an outline of the geological history of the world, and had defined and named the eons, eras, periods, and epochs of the geologic time scale.They did not know how many thousands, millions, or billions of years ago the Cambrian period began, but they knew that it came after the Proterozoic Eon and before the Ordovician Period, and that the fossils unique to Cambrian rocks were younger than Proterozoic fossils and older than Ordovician ones.

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