A geologist uses radiometric dating to identify

Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.

To determine the relative age of different rocks, geologists start with the assumption that unless something has happened, in a sequence of sedimentary rock layers, the newer rock layers will be on top of older ones. This rule is common sense, but it serves as a powerful reference point.

With absolute age dating, you get a real age in actual years.

That’s because zircon is super tough – it resists weathering. Each radioactive isotope works best for particular applications.

There are two basic approaches: relative age dating, and absolute age dating.

Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.

Say for example that a volcanic dike, or a fault, cuts across several sedimentary layers, or maybe through another volcanic rock type.

Pretty obvious that the dike came after the rocks it cuts through, right?

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Wrap two apple slices in aluminum foil and leave two apple slices exposed to air (control).

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