This principle has in the meanwhile been established to be true for all sediments worldwide, and is the basis of worldwide correlation of sedimentary rock units and one of the underpinnings of the theory of evolution. In location A we have rock layers that successively have different types and combinations (assemblages) of fossils.
If in location B we find the same fossil assemblage (Assemblage 2) in a rock unit, we may assume that they are of essentially the same age as in location A.
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Your goal is to study the smooth, parallel layers of rock to learn how the land built up over geologic time.
Now imagine that you come upon a formation like this: What do you think of it? How can you make any conclusions about rock layers that make such a crazy arrangement?
Relative dating is the science of determining the relative order of past events (i.e., the age of an object in comparison to another), without necessarily determining their absolute age, (i.e. In geology, rock or superficial deposits, fossils and lithologies can be used to correlate one stratigraphic column with another.
Prior to the discovery of radiometric dating in the early 20th century, which provided a means of absolute dating, archaeologists and geologists used relative dating to determine ages of materials.
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