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Posted by / 25-Sep-2018 00:26

Dating rock strata

Carbon-14, the radioactive isotope of carbon used in carbon dating has a half-life of 5730 years, so it decays too fast.It can only be used to date fossils younger than about 75,000 years.

William Smith was one of the most important scientists from this time who helped to develop knowledge of the succession of different fossils by studying their distribution through the sequence of sedimentary rocks in southern England.

There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.

Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation.

Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.

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Students not only want to know how old a fossil is, but they want to know how that age was determined.