Earth science relative dating activity

There are two basic approaches: relative age dating, and absolute age dating.

Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.

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Some fossils, called index fossils, are particularly useful in correlating rocks.

For a fossil to be a good index fossil, it needs to have lived during one specific time period, be easy to identify and have been abundant and found in many places. If you find ammonites in a rock in the South Island and also in a rock in the North Island, you can say that both rocks are Mesozoic.

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).

In this lab, you will apply many of these laws and principles to determine the relative sequence of geologic events that created a particular set of rock layers and intrusions.

By doing this, you will unravel the geologic history recorded in the rock record, just as geologists did hundreds of years ago, and still do today. An earlier current-formed ripple set (at bottom of slide) was later modified by a second ripple train migrating at right angles to the first.

This is a two week learning segment on hotspot volcanoes.

This is a collaborative effort between Melanie Mc Williams, a high school Earth and Planetary Science teacher at Chula Vista High School in San Diego, California, and Jamie A.

Crests of the first set are preserved in the troughs of the second set, hence, the ladderback appearance.

Beaufort Group (Permian-Triassic), Karoo Basin, South Africa.

Russell, a masters student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in La Jolla.

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