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Relative dating is the science of determining the relative order of past events (i.e., the age of an object in comparison to another), without necessarily determining their absolute age, (i.e. In geology, rock or superficial deposits, fossils and lithologies can be used to correlate one stratigraphic column with another.Prior to the discovery of radiometric dating in the early 20th century, which provided a means of absolute dating, archaeologists and geologists used relative dating to determine ages of materials.Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.Relative dating by biostratigraphy is the preferred method in paleontology and is, in some respects, more accurate.There are a number of different types of intrusions, including stocks, laccoliths, batholiths, sills and dikes.Cross-cutting relations can be used to determine the relative ages of rock strata and other geological structures.The principle of inclusions and components states that, with sedimentary rocks, if inclusions (or clasts) are found in a formation, then the inclusions must be older than the formation that contains them.

As he continued his job as a surveyor, he found the same patterns across England.He also found that certain animals were in only certain layers and that they were in the same layers all across England.Due to that discovery, Smith was able to recognize the order that the rocks were formed.A similar situation with igneous rocks occurs when xenoliths are found.These foreign bodies are picked up as magma or lava flows, and are incorporated, later to cool in the matrix.

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