But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object."Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.We know that it is older than Christendom, but whether by a couple of years or a couple of centuries, or even by more than a millenium, we can do no more than guess." [Rasmus Nyerup, (Danish antiquarian), 1802 (in Trigger, 19)].In a related article on geologic ages (Ages), we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages.
Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.
This is an informational tour in which students gain a basic understanding of geologic time, the evidence for events in Earth’s history, relative and absolute dating techniques, and the significance of the Geologic Time Scale.
Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the Ph ET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations.
The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date.
Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating. As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain "glitches" and "anomalies," as noted in the literature.