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Compare and contrast relative and absolute dating

compare and contrast relative and absolute dating-30

In fact, some are of the opinion that its results are actually more of a rough estimate or less trustworthy than the results obtained from radioactive dating. Because the results rely heavily, not necessarily on the position of the fossil or its stratum (which is still an extremely important primary factor), but rather the way in which the scientist interprets it, which means it is vulnerable to bias, miscalculations, and so on. Both are not entirely inaccurate, but neither are both entirely accurate.

In palaeontology and archaeology, it becomes necessary to determine the age of an artifact or fossil when it is uncovered.Then, one would compare the fossil's position in the stratum to the position of other nearby index fossils or remains. Such an inconsistency would, logically, confuse geologists in the future if they had no prior knowledge of the St. It is known that volcanic eruptions, such as the one at St. Not only that, but earthquakes and floods can also sometimes shift and mix strata and sediments.Doing this, one can "map" out where the fossil appeared in the geographic time scale and thus work out a rough estimate of the fossil's age, by comparing it to other fossils (i.e "it came before this fossil, and after this fossil, so therefore it must be an intermediary, and will have appeared in the time period between the two other fossils," or "this fossil was found in the same stratum as this other one, at almost the same depth and in a close radius of each other - therefore, they must have appeared in the same time period.") Perhaps the most concerning shortcoming of relative dating is how it is incapable of determining an exact or absolute age. The eruption was so intense that many layers of sediment on the volcanic mountain were blown into the air, and settled on the landscape around the volcano. It is a gaurantee that different scientists, from different backgrounds, have locked horns over this debate many times, each with their own sets of recorded evidence. Each technique has already been discussed in detail above. Radiometric Pros From the above list, it can be seen that both techniques have pros and cons.Rather, this entry wishes to point out that radiometric dating, while certainly not infallible, has less of a margin for error, and thus has a higher chance of being correct.Still, scientists involved in the dating of fossils and artifacts should retain their freedom to date using the techniques they see fit to use.Not only this, but the geological time scale - another fundamental of relative dating - is sketchy and not always linear all over the globe. For example, radiometric dating dates the fossil as it is individually - relative dating compares it to other fossils in an environment (strata and sedimentary layers) that is certainly not linear.

For example, sometimes the strata of a certain region are in the exact opposite sequence or order to how geologists expect them to be using the geological time scale. This is not to imply radiometric dating is immediately superior to relative dating and is fully correct.

This means that, after 5 730 years, roughly half of the radioactive C-14 atoms in a decomposing organic body will have decayed into nitrogen-14 atoms. That is, after two half-lives, 100% of the C-14 atoms will not have decayed into N-14 atoms. To put it simply, if one were to draw the decay rate of C-14 on a line chart, it would not be a straight, diagonal line. Scientists can use decay rates to, very roughly, determine the age of a fossil or artifact.

If a fossil is found, it means it is organic in nature, and thus has or will have contained C-14 atoms.

Relative dating is used commonly when looking at the relative order of geological events.

What can complicate relative dating is when the strata is not the right way up!

Overtime, the C-14 atoms give off radiation, and, eventually, transform into nitrogen-14 atoms.