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Explanation of Relative Dating Principles

Relative Dating Exercise

Determine the relative sequence of events in the diagram below. Enter the letter of the rock unit or geologic structure in the proper Event sequence. The geologic events of tilting, folding and erosion do not have single letter labels. Type the word "tilting", "folding" or "erosion" in the proper position. Event 1 is the oldest event. Event 20 is the most recent or youngest event. Do not leave any of the events blank. Include the appropriate relative dating principle used to determine the age. Use your table of events to construct a geologic history of the area. Provide 350 words describing the geologic history of the area.


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Relative dating, in simple terms, means looking at a geologic cross-section of an area and putting the events (deposition, faulting, tilting of layers, erosion, igneous intrusions, etc.) in the order that they seemed to have occurred. At first it can seem very confusing, but with some practice you'll get the hang of it quickly!

For the relative dating principles, the main points summarized are as follows:

Law of Superposition - In an unaltered sequence of sedimentary rocks, the ...

Solution Summary

In this solution I explain what relative dating means in geology and how it can be used to determine ages of rock units in a cross-section.