Determining the Age of Rocks and Fossils, University of California, Berkeley.
This 9-12-grade activity introduces students to age dating with exercises using relative and absolute dating. Links to various activities and lesson plans concerning relative and absolute dating. Content information about absolute and relative dating methods used by the U.
Sequencing the rock layers will show students how paleontologists use fossils to give relative dates to rock strata.
Once students begin to grasp "relative" dating, they can extend their knowledge of geologic time by exploring radiometric dating and developing a timeline of Earth's history.
Before you begin this activity, read the book chapter listed below, which is available online through Library Reserves.
The Permian through Jurassic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah is a great example of Original Horizontality and the Law of Superposition, two important ideas used in relative dating.
The geologic time scale was initially developed by determining the relative ages of rock units, first in Europe, and then in other parts of the world. To determine which rock units were older and which ones were younger (in a relative sense), geologists devised a number of laws, or principles, to help figure out the sequence of geologic events in a particular locality.
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.
These strata make up much of the famous prominent rock formations in widely spaced protected areas such as Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
From top to bottom: Rounded tan domes of the Navajo Sandstone, layered red Kayenta Formation, cliff-forming, vertically jointed, red Wingate Sandstone, slope-forming, purplish Chinle Formation, layered, lighter-red Moenkopi Formation, and white, layered Cutler Formation sandstone.