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Like the other kind of dating, geologic dating isn’t always simple.

Activity: Further discussion: Good overview as relates to the Grand Canyon: age dating: Use with this cross section of the Grand Canyon from the USGS’s teaching page: Canyon Have students reconstruct a simple geologic history — which are the oldest rocks shown? Are there any that you can’t tell using the Rule of Superposition?

What’s more, if the whole rock is badly weathered, it will be hard to find an intact mineral grain containing radioactive isotopes.

You might have noticed that many of the oldest age dates come from a mineral called zircon.

The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.That’s because zircon is super tough – it resists weathering. Each radioactive isotope works best for particular applications.The half-life of carbon 14, for example, is 5,730 years.

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