Relative dating by biostratigraphy is the preferred method in paleontology, and is in some respects more accurate (Stanley, 167–69).The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of 'relative dating' as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century.As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 55,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.Picture from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. The principle is important to the analysis of folded and tilted strata.
The Permian through Jurassic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah is a great example of Original Horizontality.
Relative dating requires an extensive knowledge of stratigraphic succession, a fancy term for the way rock strata are built up and changed by geologic processes.
Limestone layers form in flat layers at the bottom of a shallow sea.
For purposes of relative dating this principle is used to identify faults and erosional features within the rock record.
Then, by applying the Principle of Cross-Cutting we are able to relatively date those processes.