Relative dating and numerical dating
Students should be familiar with relative dating principles, although instruction on these principles could be added to the beginning of the activity.Students review relative dating principles by interpreting a block diagram and are then introduced to radioactive decay and the concept of half-life to determine numerical ages.On Earth, we have a very powerful method of relative age dating: fossil assemblages.Paleontologists have examined layered sequences of fossil-bearing rocks all over the world, and noted where in those sequences certain fossils appear and disappear.
The more fossils you find at a location, the more you can fine-tune the relative age of this layer versus that layer.
Students should come up with the intended ages for their zircons and should be able to evaluate whether or not their relative age hypotheses are consistent with the numerical dates.
A few days ago, I wrote a post about the basins of the Moon -- a result of a trip down a rabbit hole of book research.
Students use relative dating principles to interpret the ages of rocks in a block diagram.
They then "date" samples from these rocks to test their relative age hypotheses.
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Look closely at the Geologic Time Scale chart, and you might notice that the first three columns don't even go back 600 million years.