Relative dating helps determine what came first and what followed, but doesn't help determine actual age.Radiometric dating, or numeric dating, determines an actual or approximate age of an object by studying the rate of decay of radioactive isotopes, such as uranium, potassium, rubidium and carbon-14 within that object. This rate provides scientists with an accurate measurement system to determine age.Relative age will require the comparison of two or more objects, whereas absolute age does not.Continue Reading Relative age comes up often in various fields, such as archeology.Scientists measure the proportion of carbon-14 left in the organism to determine its age.Relative age allows scientists to know whether something is older or younger than something else, while absolute age means that scientists know the exact number in years that have passed since the object was created.Relative dating and radiometric dating are used to determine age of fossils and geologic features, but with different methods.
For example, if an area used for trash has modern refuse in it such as CDs and computers, and the layer underneath has cans made of tin, then it is safe to say the layer of tin cans have a greater relative age than the layer with modern refuse.
For example, carbon dating is used to determine the age of organic materials.
Once something dies, it ceases taking in new carbon-14, and the existing carbon-14 within the organism decays into nitrogen at a fixed rate.
However, this does not say anything about the absolute age of the layers.
Continue Reading Relative dating observes the placement of fossils and rock in layers known as strata.Basically, fossils and rock found in lower strata are older than those found in higher strata because lower objects must have been deposited first, while higher objects were deposited last.