What is the difference between radiometric and relative dating

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There are many methods employed by these scientists, interested in the old, to get to know the age of items.It is possible to tell the number of years ago a particular rock or archeological site had been formed.Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.Particular isotopes are suitable for different applications due to the type of atoms present in the mineral or other material and its approximate age.For example, techniques based on isotopes with half lives in the thousands of years, such as Carbon-14, cannot be used to date materials that have ages on the order of billions of years, as the detectable amounts of the radioactive atoms and their decayed daughter isotopes will be too small to measure within the uncertainty of the instruments.

Absolute dating provides a numerical age or range in contrast with relative dating which places events in order without any measure of the age between events.

But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated?

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

As the name implies, relative dating can tell which of the two artifacts is older.

This is a method that does not find the age in years but is an effective technique to compare the ages of two or more artifacts, rocks or even sites.

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