The boundary between the two represents a time gap of nearly 300 million years.
For example, techniques based on isotopes with half lives in the thousands of years, such as carbon-14, cannot be used to date materials that have ages on the order of billions of years, as the detectable amounts of the radioactive atoms and their decayed daughter isotopes will be too small to measure within the uncertainty of the instruments.
One of the most widely used and well-known absolute dating techniques is carbon-14 (or radiocarbon) dating, which is used to date organic remains.
For example, a xenolith in an igneous rock or a clast in sedimentary rock must be older than the rock that includes it (Figure 8.6).
Figure 8.6a A xenolith of diorite incorporated into a basalt lava flow, Mauna Kea volcano, Hawaii.
For example, the principle of superposition states that sedimentary layers are deposited in sequence, and, unless the entire sequence has been turned over by tectonic processes or disrupted by faulting, the layers at the bottom are older than those at the top.
The principle of inclusions states that any rock fragments that are included in rock must be older than the rock in which they are included.In historical geology, the primary methods of absolute dating involve using the radioactive decay of elements trapped in rocks or minerals, including isotope systems from very young (radiocarbon dating with Radiometric dating is based on the known and constant rate of decay of radioactive isotopes into their radiogenic daughter isotopes.Particular isotopes are suitable for different applications due to the types of atoms present in the mineral or other material and its approximate age.The simplest and most intuitive way of dating geological features is to look at the relationships between them.There are a few simple rules for doing this, some of which we’ve already looked at in Chapter 6.(The near-vertical stripes are blasting drill holes.