Relative dating in geological time

NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Stony Brook University.I study how bone tissue, growth, and metabolism evolve at macroevolutionary time scales. We then describe Grand Canyon rocks as belonging to three “sets,” or packages of rocks, each with unique geologic histories, and present a compilation of “best” numeric ages for Grand Canyon rocks to use when explaining Grand Canyon geology to the public.Photo 1: Many people consider Grand Canyon National Park the world’s premiere geologic landscape and a “geologic wonder”.

With a rock record that spans more than 1500 m.y., Grand Canyon is truly a panoramic view into the geologic past.

The Grand Canyon landscape is geologically young, being carved within just the last 6 m.y.

There are younger geologic deposits in Grand Canyon too, such as the Ice Age fossils found in caves, a 1000-year-old lava flow in the western canyon, and even the debris flow deposits that continue form each year.

Grand Canyon contains many important geologic resources, including a vast fossil record ranging from Precambrian stromatolites to Ice Age mammal bones and dung found in caves; a potentially active volcanic field in the western Grand Canyon; a geologic history ranging more than 1.7 billion years; and the canyon landscape itself as the greatest example of arid land erosion.

There are two major categories of geologic dating techniques: relative dating and absolute age determinations .

Relative dating determines the order in which a sequence of past events occurred, but does not determine exactly when the geologic events happened.

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