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Relative age allows scientists to know whether something is older or younger than something else, while absolute age means that scientists know the exact number in years that have passed since the object was created.

Relative age will require the comparison of two or more objects, whereas absolute age does not.

Return to top Each team of 3 to 5 students should discuss together how to determine the relative age of each of the rock units in the block diagram (Figure 1).

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This activity on determining age of rocks and fossils is intended for 8th or 9th grade students.

That is, scientists cannot tell exactly how old the layers are in years to the present date, only which is older than the other.

Techniques such as radioactive dating, including carbon dating, focus more on the absolute age of an object.

Students not only want to know how old a fossil is, but they want to know how that age was determined.

Some very straightforward principles are used to determine the age of fossils.

Continue Reading Relative age comes up often in various fields, such as archeology.

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