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Determining the Age of Rocks. Relative Age of Rocks. Types of Rock. Sedimentary rock forms from sediment ( sediment - solid particles of rock produced by weathering and erosion by water and wind) * Igneous rock forms from volcanic lava flows

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Determining the age of rocks

Determining the Age of Rocks

Relative Age of Rocks


Types of rock
Types of Rock

  • Sedimentary rock forms from sediment

    (sediment- solid particles of rock produced by weathering and erosion by water and wind)

    * Igneous rock forms from volcanic lava flows

    * Metamorphic rock- forms from intense heat and pressure


Relative dating of rocks
Relative Dating of Rocks

  • The relative age of rocks determines the age of rock layers as younger or older, but does not give the exact age.

  • The principle of uniformitarianism states that forces that shaped the Earth in the past continues to shape the earth today (volcanoes and weathering and erosion by wind and water).


Sedimentary rocks
Sedimentary Rocks

  • Sedimentary rocks formed from sediment deposited millions of years ago. Sedimentary rocks are deposited in horizontal layers. (principle of original horizontality)

  • Sedimentary rock is deposited in horizontal layers over geologic time with the oldest layer on bottom and the youngest layer at the top (principle of superposition)


Sedimentary rock layers
Sedimentary Rock Layers

  • Remember -sedimentary rock layers are horizontal with the oldest at the bottom and the young at the top unless the layers are disturbed by a fault or igneous intrusion


Faults and igneous intrusions
Faults and Igneous Intrusions

  • Sometimes sedimentary rock layers are disturbed by geological forces. A crack in the rock layer is called a fault. When igneous rock (volcanic lava) intrudes or cuts through layers of sedimentary rock it is called an igneous intrusion.

  • The principle of cross-cutting relationshipsstates that a fault or igneous intrusion is always younger than the rock it cuts across.


Fault crack in sedimentary rock
Fault (Crack) in Sedimentary rock

Here is a picture of a fault or crackin the rock


Igneous intrusion in rock layers
Igneous Intrusion in Rock Layers

  • Remember that igneous intrusions (lava) are always younger than the rock layers they cut through. Note the igneous intrusions (volcanic rock) cutting through the rock layer


Relative age of rock
Relative Age of Rock

  • The Relative Age of the rock can be determined by the sequence of the rock layers using the Principle of Superposition (oldest on the bottom and youngest at the top).

  • If the sedimentary rock layer has been disturbed by a fault or igneous intrusion, the fault or intrusion is always younger than the rock layer they cut through (cross-cutting)


Swbat describe what an index fossil is finding the relative age of rocks using index fossils
SWBAT: Describe what an index fossil is: Finding the Relative Age of Rocks using Index Fossils

  • Certain fossils called Index fossils help geologists determine the Relative Age of rocks.

  • To be a useful Index fossil:

    - the fossil must be widely distributed different geographic areas

    - and represent an organism that existed only briefly


Index fossils
Index fossils

  • Trilobites were a group of hard shelled animals that evolved in shallow sea more than 500 million years ago (trilobites became extinct at the end of the Paleozoic Era)

  • Trilobites are useful as index fossils because they were widely distributed geographically and represent an organism that existed briefly.


Example of an index fossil trilobite in layers of sedimentary rock how old is the bottom layer
Example of an index fossil (trilobite) in layers of sedimentary rock. How old is the bottom layer?


Continental drift theory
Continental Drift Theory

  • All continents were once joined together in a single landmass (supercontinent) called Pangea

  • Fossil evidence supports the Continental Drift Theory.Fossils from a fernlike plant Glossopteris have been found in Africa, South America, Australia, and Antarctica. The seeds could not have traveled across the span of the oceans


Absolute age of rocks
Absolute Age of Rocks

  • To determine the Relative Age of Rocks geologists use the Principles ofSuperposition,Cross-Cutting Relationships, and Index fossils.

  • To determine the Absolute Age (exact age) of rock, geologists use Radiometric Dating.

  • How did geologist determine the Earth was 4.6 billion years old?


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