Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence. The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy layers of rock are called strata. Relative dating does not provide actual numerical dates for the rocks. Next time you find a cliff or road cutting with lots of rock strata, try working out the age order using some simple principles:. Fossils are important for working out the relative ages of sedimentary rocks. Throughout the history of life, different organisms have appeared, flourished and become extinct.
As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 79, lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. Use this quiz and worksheet to assess your understanding of the techniques geologists use to establish relative dating and the relationships that occurred over geologic time periods. Learn more about relative dating by reviewing the lesson, What is Relative Dating?