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Ch 9: Time & Dating in Geology

About This Chapter

If you need to study geological time and dating for an upcoming science exam, consult this series of environmental science lessons. This study guide chapter also comes with self-assessment quizzes to help you check your understanding of important geological concepts.

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.

8 Lessons in Chapter 9: Time & Dating in Geology
Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

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.

Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism

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.

Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

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.

What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships

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!

Principles of Radiometric Dating

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.

Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

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.

Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements

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!

Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time

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.

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