The difference between relative and absolute dating
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.
Absolute dating is distinguishable from relative dating.
Absolute dating tells us exactly how old a material or object is, while relative dating tells us how much older or younger the material or object is as compared to another.
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.
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 dating is achieved by determining the position of rock in strata, and the appearance of certain index fossils.
Before radiometric dating (or other methods of absolute dating like counting tree rings) it was difficult to determine the actual age of an object.
Radiometric dating, based on known rates of decay of radioactive isotopes in objects, allows a specific age of an object to be determined to some degree of accuracy.
Absolute dating tells when the fossil was formed, relative dating compares fossils to other fossils, some fossils cannot se absolute dating so they have to use both relative and absolute dating together.
Relative dating is the science determining the relative order of past events, without necessarily determining their absolute age Absolute dating is the process of determining an approximate computed age in archaeology and geology.