In this lesson, we'll learn a few basic principles of stratigraphic succession and see whether we can find relative dates for those strange strata we found in the Grand Canyon.In order to establish relative dates, geologists must make an initial assumption about the way rock strata are formed. sediments, which are deposited and compacted in one place over time.

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With out individual time stamps the process of dating these structures could become extremely difficult.

To deal with many of these problems geologists utilize two types of geologic time: relative time and absolute 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.

Free 5-day trial Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age.

Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past.You have to put these events into the order in which they occurred, starting with the oldest, and working toward the youngest. If a fault cuts a bed, then the bed is older than the fault. (The previous layers are eroded off at the top too.) So the event after the intrusion is EROSION A.For Block A above, the sedimentary units are in sequence, P, K, M, and S. A body of magma (INTRUSION R) has intruded or cut through all of the previous layers. Your goal is to study the smooth, parallel layers of rock to learn how the land built up over geologic time.Now imagine that you come upon a formation like this: What do you think of it? How can you make any conclusions about rock layers that make such a crazy arrangement?The most obvious feature of sedimentary rock is its layering.