What is the difference between relative dating and radiometric dating

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Correlation with them has helped geologists date many New Zealand rocks, including those containing dinosaurs.Bring relative dating principles to life with the activity Rock layers and relative dating.Some of the most useful fossils for dating purposes are very small ones.

For a fossil to be a good index fossil, it needs to have lived during one specific time period, be easy to identify and have been abundant and found in many places. If you find ammonites in a rock in the South Island and also in a rock in the North Island, you can say that both rocks are Mesozoic.

When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.

Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.

Students begin by observing a photograph and a diagram of rock layers near Whanganui, watch an animation about how the layers were formed, then use an interactive labelling diagram to work out the order in which the rocks were created.

The activity offers literacy opportunities as well as practice using the science capability 'Interpret representations'.

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