Dating of rocks fossils and geologic events lab answers

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).After students have decided how to establish the relative age of each rock unit, they should list them under the block, from most recent at the top of the list to oldest at the bottom.Students should be able to understand the principles and have that as a background so that age determinations by paleontologists and geologists don't seem like black magic. Geologists in the late 18th and early 19th century studied rock layers and the fossils in them to determine relative age.William Smith was one of the most important scientists from this time who helped to develop knowledge of the succession of different fossils by studying their distribution through the sequence of sedimentary rocks in southern England.In other words, during 704 million years, half the U-235 atoms that existed at the beginning of that time will decay to Pb-207. Many elements have some isotopes that are unstable, essentially because they have too many neutrons to be balanced by the number of protons in the nucleus.Each of these unstable isotopes has its own characteristic half life.For example, U-235 is an unstable isotope of uranium that has 92 protons and 143 neutrons in the nucl eus of each atom.

Part 2a Activity — At any moment there is a small chance that each of the nuclei of U-235 will suddenly decay.The teacher should tell the students that there are two basic principles used by geologists to determine the sequence of ages of rocks.They are: Principle of superposition: Younger sedimentary rocks are deposited on top of older sedimentary rocks.Principle of cross-cutting relations: Any geologic feature is younger than anything else that it cuts across.Some elements have forms (called isotopes) with unstable atomic nuclei that have a tendency to change, or decay.

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