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This uses radioactive minerals that occur in rocks and fossils almost like a geological clock.It’s often much easier to date volcanic rocks than the fossils themselves or the sedimentary rocks they are found in.The same rock formation also contains a type of trilobite that was known to live 415 to 425 million years ago.Since the rock formation contains both types of fossils the ago of the rock formation must be in the overlapping date range of 415 to 420 million years.Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.By combining multiple geochronological and biostratigraphic indicators the precision of the recovered age can be improved.Geochronology is different in application from biostratigraphywhich is the science of assigning sedimentary rocks to a known geological period via describing, cataloguing and comparing fossil floral and faunal assemblages.

For example if you have a fossil trilobite and it was found in the Wheeler Formation.Geochronology is the science of determining the age of rocksfossilsand sediments using signatures inherent in the rocks themselves.Absolute geochronology can be accomplished through radioactive isotopes, whereas relative geochronology is provided by tools such as palaeomagnetism and stable isotope ratios.The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated?

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