Process of relative dating
The circumstances of the object may allow one to say that one object is older than another without being able to assign a particular age to the objects.For example: If an archaeologist is studying past civilizations, the archaeologist may be able to say that in a particular location the ruins of once civilization were found to have been build on another and so the layers unearthed in an excavation convey the sequence of historical occupations without revealing the actual dates.Before radiometric dating it was difficult to determine the actual age of an object.Radiometric dating, based on known rates of decay of radioactive isotopes in objects, allows a specific age of an object to be determined to some degree of accuracy.This was done 100 years before absolute dating methods were available.The ten strata systems that compose the “standard geologic column” are the familiar Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary periods.If the archaeologist finds a sample suitable for carbon dating, then an absolute date may be assigned to an object.
Estimates of the absolute age of prehistoric and geological events and remains amounted to little more than inspired guesswork, as there was no scientific basis for testing such proposals.” With this background, it is strange that the “standard geologic column” that identifies the rock strata on the earth and assigns very old ages to those strata was developed by Sir Charles Lyell in 1830.Short Answer: Both relative dating and absolute dating are tools used to give temporal characteristics to a sequence of events.Both are attempting to get information on the history of events.Similarly, dendrochronology measures the tree rings in trees and assumes they represent years.Climate chronology uses evidence of a climatic change, such as an ice age, as a benchmark for dating.
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Although no absolute methods were available to establish actual dates, Lyell needed to assign very old dates to the strata to make them consistent with the long eons of time that would be necessary to meet the new uniformitarianism theory developed by James Hutton and himself.