Furthermore, relative dating uses the principle of cross-cutting relationships which states that features which cut through rocks must have formed after the rocks they cut across. This principle is important in understanding geologic time because it demonstrates that the material being broken through must be older than the material breaking through it.
Rocks which have been deposited without interruption are called conformable rocks. Contrastingly, an unconformity represents a long period of time during which deposition occurred instead of erosion, which removed rocks that were previously formed. There are three types of unconformities: angular unconformity, disconformity, and nonconformity. An angular unconformity contains titled or folded sedimentary rocks which are later covered by fresher and flatter strata. The second type, a disconformity, is a gap in the rock record which represents a period of erosion rather than deposition. The final type is a nonconformity, in which younger strata lie atop older metamorphic or intrusive igneous rocks. A period of uplift and erosion must occur in order for a nonconformity to develop. Once again using the Grand Canyon as an example, the sediment contained in the Grand Canyon contains all three types of unconformities which represent a long period where geologic time was not recorded.
... middle of paper ...
...Argon dating, the geologic clock starts “when potassium-bearing minerals crystallize from a magma or form within a metamorphic rock”, making it the best option for volcanic material. Scientists typically employ Rubidium-Strontium dating for igneous and metamorphic rocks. Finally, Uranium-Lead dating is used for granite and other very old rocks. In conducting radiometric dating, scientists usually apply a cross-check method, which makes use of two different absolute dating methods in order to ensure that there is not an error.
In conclusion, there is no specific method of geometric dating that is better than others. Various methods of absolute and relative dating are frequently used by geologists and help to provide insight into the age of strata. Geology, as most sciences are, is very integrative and must analyze the whole picture to develop a full understanding.
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