Improvements in dating of rocks and fossils

I thought it would be useful to present an example where the geology is simple, and unsurprisingly, the method does work well, to show the quality of data that would have to be invalidated before a major revision of the geologic time scale could be accepted by conventional scientists.

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These layers are like bookends -- they give a beginning and an end to the period of time when the sedimentary rock formed.

By using radiometric dating to determine the age of igneous brackets, researchers can accurately determine the age of the sedimentary layers between them.

To get to that point, there is also a historical discussion and description of non-radiometric dating methods.

The example used here contrasts sharply with the way conventional scientific dating methods are characterized by some critics (for example, refer to discussion in "Common Creationist Criticisms of Mainstream Dating Methods" in the Age of the Earth FAQ and Isochron Dating FAQ).

The most common rocks observed in this form are sedimentary rocks (derived from what were formerly sediments), and extrusive igneous rocks (e.g., lavas, volcanic ash, and other formerly molten rocks extruded onto the Earth's surface).

The layers of rock are known as "strata", and the study of their succession is known as "stratigraphy".

While the oldest known rocks on Earth are about 3.5 billion years old, researchers have found zircon crystals that are 4.3 billion years old [source: USGS].

Based on the analysis of these samples, scientists estimate that the Earth itself is about 4.5 billion years old.

Each of them typically exists in igneous rock, or rock made from cooled magma.

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