Relative dating of rock

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Many sections of the Wasatch fault disturb or crosscut the Provo shoreline, showing that faulting occurred after the lake dropped below this shoreline which formed about 13,500 years ago.

As this example illustrates determining the age of a geologic feature or rock requires the use of both absolute and relative dating techniques.

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The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.

Half-lives of these isotopes and the parent-to-daughter ratio in a given rock sample can be measured, then a relatively simple calculation yields the absolute (radiometric) date at which the parent began to decay, i.e., the age of the rock.

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