About This Chapter
Time & Dating in Geology - Chapter Summary
These bite-sized and convenient environmental science lessons cover several time and dating methods in the field of geology. You'll begin the chapter by summarizing the geologic time scale and analyzing two geological evolution theories. The chapter progresses with explanations of geological dating methods, including numerical, radiometric and relative dating. Upon completion of the chapter, you should be equipped to:
- Name the major eons, eras periods and epochs of the geologic time scale
- Differentiate between catastrophism and uniformitarianism
- Understand why/how numerical, relative and radiometric dating are used in the study of geology
- Identify several fossil preservation conditions
- Explain the process of relative dating with fossils
After completing each lesson, take the accompanying self-assessment quiz to make sure you fully comprehend the material. If you need extra help understanding these concepts, you can submit questions to our expert environmental science instructors. The course dashboard feature keeps track of your quiz scores and progress throughout the chapter. Lesson transcripts are available to study offline, and you can use any computer or mobile device to study online at your convenience.
1. Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs
The geologic time scale is an essential tool for understanding the history of Earth and the evolution of life. In this lesson, explore the principal eons, eras, periods, and epochs that help us track major events in geologic history.
2. Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism
Geologists haven't always agreed about the history of our planet. They have debated between catastrophism and uniformitarianism over the last few hundred years! Learn about the two main theories of geologic evolution and how scientists came to resolve the dispute.
3. Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating
Learn how scientists determine the ages of rocks and fossils. We'll explore both relative and numerical dating on our quest to understand the process of geological dating. Along the way, we'll learn how stratigraphic succession and radioactive decay contribute to the work of paleontologists.
4. What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships
Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age. Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past. We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!
5. Principles of Radiometric Dating
Radiometric dating is a method used to determine the age of rocks and other materials based on the rate of radioactive decay. Learn about three common types of radioactive decay: alpha decay, beta decay and gamma decay.
6. Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life
Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson.
7. Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements
Learn how fossils are formed and how varying conditions affect the preservation of organisms. What is the best way for a dinosaur to become fossilized? Find out here!
8. Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time
You may already know how to date a fossil with a rock. But did you know that we can also date a rock with a fossil? Watch this video to find out how we use index fossils to establish the relative ages of rocks.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the AEPA Earth Science: Practice & Study Guide course
- Development of Earth & Space Science
- Nature of Scientific Inquiry
- Scientific Data & Calculations
- Maps & Spatial Concepts
- Space Science Technology
- Laboratory Safety & Procedures
- Earth's Formation & Structure
- Plate Tectonics, Continental Drift & Ocean Formations
- Weathering, Erosion & Deposition
- Physical & Chemical Properties of Earth's Minerals
- Rocks & Minerals
- Understanding Earthquakes
- Biogeochemical Cycles
- Earth's Hydrologic Cycle
- Earth's Fresh Water
- Atmospheric Structure & Energy Transfer
- The Ozone Layer, Climate Change & Air Pollution
- Season & Climate Classifications
- Earth's Climate System: Wind, Air Masses & El Nino
- Weather Conditions & Severe Weather Phenomena
- Weather Forecasting and Analysis
- Characteristics of Ocean Water, Currents & Waves
- The Earth & the Moon
- The Sun's Structure, Energy & Life Cycle
- Celestial Orbit Characteristics
- Solar Radiation, Energy & Electromagnetic Waves
- Formation of the Solar System
- Celestial Bodies of the Solar System
- Kepler & Newton's Laws of Motion
- Star Types and Significance
- Characteristics of Stars
- Structure of the Milky Way Galaxy
- The Universe: Key Concepts & Theories