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Geologic Time

History Of The Concept Of Geologic Time, Relative Age Determination, Radiometric Age Determination

Although historical time covers centuries, and archeological times covers millennia, geologic time describes the immense span of time—billions of years—revealed in the fossil and rock record of Earth. Geochronology is the science of finding out how old rocks and minerals are. Absolute time and relative time are terms used to describe the age of rocks and events used by geologists. Radiometric age determination is a method used by geologists to determine the absolute age, in years, of rocks and minerals. Knowledge of stratigraphy, the branch of geology that catalogues Earth's successions of rock layers, is essential to establish the relative ages of rock units. By finding which rock unit formed first, the order of the events in Earth history can be sorted out.

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