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Radioactive dating grand canyon

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Relative dating cannot establish absolute age, but it can establish whether one rock is older or younger than another.

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Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.If it had happened before the layers had formed, then we wouldn't see it punching through all the layers; we would only see it going through the layers that had existed at the time that it happened. The Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships states that rock formations that cut across other rocks must be younger than the rocks that they cut across.The same idea applies to fault lines that slide rock layers apart from each other; a fault that cuts across a set of strata must have occurred after the formation of that set.Once we assume that all rock layers were originally horizontal, we can make another assumption: that the oldest rock layers are furthest toward the bottom, and the youngest rock layers are closest to the top. The forest layer is younger than the mud layer, right? When scientists look at sedimentary rock strata, they essentially see a timeline stretching backwards through history.The highest layers tell them what happened more recently, and the lowest layers tell them what happened longer ago.What could a geologist say about that section of rock?

Following the Principle of Original Horizontality, he could say that whatever forces caused the deformation, like an earthquake, must have occurred after the formation of all the rock strata.

We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!

Imagine that you're a geologist, studying the amazing rock formations of the Grand Canyon.

Geologists find the cross-cutting principle especially useful for establishing the relative ages of faults and igneous intrusions in sedimentary rocks.

Sometimes, geologists find strange things inside the strata, like chunks of metamorphic or igneous rock.

It's called the Principle of Original Horizontality, and it just means what it sounds like: that all rock layers were originally horizontal. As you can imagine, regular sediments, like sand, silt, and clay, tend to accumulate over a wide area with a generally consistent thickness.