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It is only by correlations that the conditions on different parts of Earth at any particular stage in its history can be deduced.
To achieve this precision, geochronologists have had to develop the ability to isolate certain high-quality minerals that can be shown to have remained closed to migration of the radioactive parent atoms they contain and the daughter atoms formed by radioactive decay over billions of years of geologic time.Dating, in geology, determining a chronology or calendar of events in the history of Earth, using to a large degree the evidence of organic evolution in the sedimentary rocks accumulated through geologic time in marine and continental environments.To date past events, processes, formations, and fossil organisms, geologists employ a variety of techniques.By contrast, crustal destruction occurs at the margins of two colliding continents, as, for example, where the subcontinent of India is moving north over Asia.Great uplift, accompanied by rapid erosion, is taking place and large sediment fans are being deposited in the Indian Ocean to the south.These include some that establish a relative chronology in which occurrences can be placed in the correct sequence relative to one another or to some known succession of events.
Radiometric dating and certain other approaches are used to provide absolute chronologies in terms of years before the present.
Similarly, in geologic studies, vast quantities of information from widely spaced outcrops have to be integrated.
Some method of correlating rock units must be found.
Just as the use of the fossil record has allowed a precise definition of geologic processes in approximately the past 600 million years, absolute ages allow correlations back to Earth’s oldest known rocks formed more than 4 billion years ago.
In fact, even in younger rocks, absolute dating is the only way that the fossil record can be calibrated.
In the ideal case, the geologist will discover a single rock unit with a unique collection of easily observed attributes called a marker horizon that can be found at widely spaced localities.