How accurate is radioactive dating of materials

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These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.

As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.

This is the principle of original horizontality: layers of strata are deposited horizontally or nearly horizontally (Figure 2).

Thus, any deformations of strata (Figures 2 and 3) must have occurred after the rock was deposited.

" First, the relative age of a fossil can be determined.

Relative dating puts geologic events in chronological order without requiring that a specific numerical age be assigned to each event.

In addition to being tilted horizontally, the layers have been faulted (dashed lines on figure).

For example, in the rocks exposed in the walls of the Grand Canyon (Figure 1) there are many horizontal layers, which are called strata.

For example, based on the primate fossil record, scientists know that living primates evolved from fossil primates and that this evolutionary history took tens of millions of years.

By comparing fossils of different primate species, scientists can examine how features changed and how primates evolved through time.

Layers that cut across other layers are younger than the layers they cut through (principle of cross-cutting relationships).

The principle of superposition builds on the principle of original horizontality.

The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.

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