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Ch 3: Understanding Geologic Time

About This Chapter

This online earth science chapter explores a variety of geologic time concepts. These fun lessons and self-assessment quizzes are great options for anyone who needs to better understand geologic time principles for exams, class assignments or homework.

Understanding Geologic Time - Chapter Summary

If you need to study basic geologic time concepts, you're in the right place. This series of bite-sized video lessons outlines the geologic time scale and helps you evaluate relative and radiometric dating methods. Our instructors use a straightforward and engaging teaching style, and they're available to answer any questions you may have. The chapter also includes printable lesson transcripts and interactive self-assessment quizzes. Studying these lessons can help you:

  • Identify the major eons, eras, periods and epochs on the geologic time scale
  • Assess numerical and relative dating methods
  • Define the components of relative dating
  • Explain the principles of radiometric dating
  • Assess the significance of half-life in radiometric dating
  • Describe fossil preservation conditions
  • Understand how index fossils can indicate time

7 Lessons in Chapter 3: Understanding Geologic Time
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
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.

Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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