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Relative Vs. Absolute Dating: The Ultimate Face-off
Difference Between Absolute and Relative Dating - michiganaoh.com
Relative dating and radiometric dating are used to determine age of fossils and geologic features, but with different methods. Relative dating uses observation of location within rock layers, while radiometric dating uses data from the decay of radioactive substances within an object. Relative dating observes the placement of fossils and rock in layers known as strata. Basically, fossils and rock found in lower strata are older than those found in higher strata because lower objects must have been deposited first, while higher objects were deposited last. Relative dating helps determine what came first and what followed, but doesn't help determine actual age.
Difference Between Relative Dating and Radiometric Dating
The main difference between absolute and relative dating is that the absolute dating is a technique to determine the numerical age of a rock or a fossil whereas the relative dating is a technique that determines the relative age. Furthermore, absolute dating can be done with the use of radiometric dating while relative age is determined with respect to other layers. The four techniques used in absolute dating are radiometric dating, amino acid dating, dendrochronology, and thermoluminescence.
Geologists often need to know the age of material that they find. They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years. This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time order. Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.