Deeper than dating

A similar situation with igneous rocks occurs when xenoliths are found.These foreign bodies are picked up as magma or lava flows, and are incorporated, later to cool in the matrix.Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.Relative dating by biostratigraphy is the preferred method in paleontology and is, in some respects, more accurate.This is because it is not possible for a younger layer to slip beneath a layer previously deposited.The only disturbance that the layers experience is bioturbation, in which animals and/or plants move things in the layers.As a result, xenoliths are older than the rock which contains them.

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The principle of cross-cutting relationships pertains to the formation of faults and the age of the sequences through which they cut.The principle of faunal succession is based on the appearance of fossils in sedimentary rocks.As organisms exist at the same time period throughout the world, their presence or (sometimes) absence may be used to provide a relative age of the formations in which they are found.however, this process is not enough to allow the layers to change their positions.This principle allows sedimentary layers to be viewed as a form of vertical time line, a partial or complete record of the time elapsed from deposition of the lowest layer to deposition of the highest bed.

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