For example, if a fault were truncated by an unconformity, and that unconformity cut by a dike.Based upon such compound cross-cutting relationships it can be seen that the fault is older than the unconformity which in turn is older than the dike.
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Geologists establish the age of rocks in two ways: numerical dating and relative dating.
Numerical dating determines the actual ages of rocks through the study of radioactive decay.
Your goal is to study the smooth, parallel layers of rock to learn how the land built up over geologic time.
Now imagine that you come upon a formation like this: What do you think of it? How can you make any conclusions about rock layers that make such a crazy arrangement?
With this in mind geologist have long known that the deeper a sedimentary rock layer is the older it is, but how old?