Sedimentary rocks dating

Relative dating utilizes six fundamental principles to determine the relative age of a formation or event.The first principle is the Principle of Superposition which states that in an undisturbed succession of sedimentary rock, the oldest layers are on the bottom.Organic material that has not fossilized and does not exceed 70,000 years of age can be dated by Carbon dating techniques.Sedimentary rock can only be dated by its association with igneous and metamorphic rock.More likely is the use of fossils to date sedimentary rock based on the index fossils which appear in it.The appearance of these index fossils indicates the geologic age in which they appeared.

This concept known as the Principle of Lateral Continuity allows us to assume that similar layers of rock or sediment that are separated by a valley or other erosional feature were once continuos.For purposes of relative dating this principle is used to identify faults and erosional features within the rock record.Then, by applying the Principle of Cross-Cutting we are able to relatively date those processes.This follows due to the fact that sedimentary rock is produced from the gradual accumulation of sediment on the surface.Therefore newer sediment is continually deposited on top of previously deposited or older sediment.

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