Nonetheless, how geologists determine the age of rocks is a mystery to many members of the public, and even to many park rangers [see Photo 2], guides, and others who share the canyon’s geologic story with others. ” when geologists say a Grand Canyon rock formed 270 million years ago.
Further confusion arises when one publication or geologist says, for example, that the Kaibab Formation is 270 m.y. The same questions arise for the other rock units at Grand Canyon. This article will answer these questions by providing a short primer on geologic dating methods and how they were applied to Grand Canyon rocks.
Simply stated, each bed in a sequence of sedimentary rocks (or layered volcanic rocks) is younger than the bed below it and older than the bed above it.
This law follows two basic assumptions: (1) the beds were originally deposited near horizontal, and (2) the beds were not overturned after their deposition.
A geologic map or report typically is only a summary of investigations that frequently involve the collecting and processing of hundreds of rock samples, followed by the evaluation and interpretation of data from a variety of analytical techniques.
A relative age is the age of a fossil organism, rock, or geologic feature or event defined relative to other organisms, rocks, or features or events rather than in terms of years.
Ice core sampling normally uses the assumption that the ring bands observed represents years.
This web page provides an overview of selected geochronology methods used by USGS scientists.Development of the geologic time scale and dating of formations and rocks relies upon two fundamentally different ways of telling time: relative and absolute.Relative dating places events or rocks in their chronologic sequence or order of occurrence. ANSWER: Relative dating is used to determine the relative ages of geologic strata, artifacts, historical events, etc.This technique does not give specific ages to items.