Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occur, it remains a useful technique especially in materials lacking radioactive isotopes.

relative dating defenition-7

The method compares the amount of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, in samples. It is the main way to learn the age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself.

It may be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.

Radiometric dating methods are used to establish the geological time scale.

All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements, each with its own atomic number, indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus.

It shows the age of the sample, and the original composition.

The method works best if neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product enters or leaves the material after its formation.

Fossils may be dated by taking samples of rocks from above and below the fossil's original position.

Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.

Picture from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.