The Permian through Jurassic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah is a great example of Original Horizontality and the Law of Superposition, two important ideas used in relative dating.
These strata make up much of the famous prominent rock formations in widely spaced protected areas such as Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Geologists establish the age of rocks in two ways: numerical dating and relative dating.
The same thing can be done with geologic features in a rock outcrop.
To do this geologists use the Laws of Relative Dating.
A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.
However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.
We do this all the time in our regular day to day lives.
For example, lets put the following movies in order of relative age from oldest to youngest: Twilight, Finding Nemo, the Avengers, the Hunger Games.
Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.
Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.
We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!
Imagine that you're a geologist, studying the amazing rock formations of the Grand Canyon.
These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.