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Geologists establish the age of rocks in two ways: numerical dating and relative dating.Numerical dating determines the actual ages of rocks through the study of radioactive decay.
Sometimes, geologists find strange things inside the strata, like chunks of metamorphic or igneous rock.If it had happened before the layers had formed, then we wouldn't see it punching through all the layers; we would only see it going through the layers that had existed at the time that it happened. The Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships states that rock formations that cut across other rocks must be younger than the rocks that they cut across.The same idea applies to fault lines that slide rock layers apart from each other; a fault that cuts across a set of strata must have occurred after the formation of that set.Inclusions are always older than the sedimentary rock within which they are found.Other times, geologists discover patterns in rock layers that give them confusing information.
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