Explain the difference between relative dating and radiometric dating

Two broad categories of classification methods are relative dating and absolute dating.

Though using similar methods, these two techniques differ in certain ways that will be discussed in this article.

The difference between relative dating and absolute dating is that relative dating is a method of sequencing events in the order in which they happened.

Absolute dating is a method of estimating the age of a rock sample in years via radiometric techniques.

Very often historical evidence is found in layers and older layers are further down that the top layers.

For example: If an archaeologist is studying past civilizations, the archaeologist may be able to say that in a particular location the ruins of one civilization were found to have been built on another and so the layers unearthed in an excavation convey the sequence of historical occupations without revealing the actual dates.

Similarly, relative dating is done by paleontologists who find layers of fossils.

This atomic event is random andcannot be predicted, but by applying statistical principles tolarge numbers of a given radionuclide, an "average" decay time canbe found, and we have the half-life.

However, carbon dating is an absolute dating technique that can give an estimate of the actual age of an artifact and thus an estimate of the age of other objects in the same layer.

Carbon dating is one example of radiometric dating.

It is the difference between sand running out of an hour glass and determining what time it is by how much sand is left. If you can determine how much of that radioactive isotope ought to have been in a sample at the start and you can measure how much is left, you can tell how much time has passed.

Radioactive decay is the spontaneous change or disintegration of anunstable atomic nucleus as it transforms itself to lose energy.

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The radiometric techniques that give absolute dating estimates are based on radioactive decay of elements such as uranium. Looking at how rock formations are structured, a geologist may be able to say which rock was developed in which layer in a particular order but not be able to determine that actual geologic age of the layers. Relative dispersion, sometimes called the coefficient of variation, is the result of dividing the st. by the mean, hence it is dimensionless (it may also be presented as a percentage).

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