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Sixteen years after his discovery, he published a geological map of England showing the rocks of different geologic time eras.
Methods for relative dating were developed when geology first emerged as a natural science in the 18th century.
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.
The principle of inclusions and components explains 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.
For example, in sedimentary rocks, it is common for gravel from an older formation to be ripped up and included in a newer layer.
The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of 'relative datin g' as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century.
The regular order of the occurrence of fossils in rock layers was discovered around 1800 by William Smith.
Photo from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.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.Geologists still use the following principles today as a means to provide information about geologic history and the timing of geologic events.The principle of Uniformitarianism states that the geologic processes observed in operation that modify the Earth's crust at present have worked in much the same way over geologic time.