Comparing relative dating and radiometric dating

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Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation.Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.Chronometric techniques include radiometric dating and radio-carbon dating, which both determine the age of materials through the decay of their radioactive elements; dendrochronology, which dates events and environmental conditions by studying tree growth rings; fluorine testing, which dates bones by calculating their fluorine content; pollen analysis, which identifies the number and type of pollen in a sample to place it in the correct historical period; and thermoluminescence, which dates ceramic materials by measuring their stored energy.

Carbon14 (C14) is unstable and present in a very small percentage relative to the other components.The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of 'relative dating' as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century.The regular order of occurrence of fossils in rock layers was discovered around 1800 by William Smith.Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.For example if you have a fossil trilobite and it was found in the Wheeler Formation.

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