With the sinking of the land surface, sediments were deposited on the ocean floor.Such recurring events as mountain building and sea encroachment and believed to be recorded in rock layers that comprise units of geologic time.The concept is considered by uniformitarian geologists to be a major breakthrough in scientific reasoning by establishing a rational basis for relative time measurements.
Relative dating is a dating method that used to determine determine the relative ages of geologic strata, artifacts, historical events, etc.
This technique does not give specific ages to items.
Uniformitarian geologists began using the principles of stratigraphy to assign dates to the layers of the geological column fossils back in the late 1700s.
Relative dating uses a combination of fossil studies and structural interpretation to draw conclusions about the geological history of an area.
From the results of studies on the origins of the various kinds of rocks (petrology), coupled with studies of rock layering (stratigraphy) and the fossils they contain (paleontology), geologists have associated layers of rocks with sequence of events thought to have occurred over hundreds of millions of years.
For example, it is believed that during a particular episode the land surface was raised in one part of the world to form high plateaus and mountain ranges.
These layers are presumed to be the result of annual fluctuations in climate, and using this method, uniformitarians purport to document ages of over 100,000 years.
Creationists, such as Michael Oard, contend that these laminations are from subannual events, including layering due to dust to be found in a post-flood ice age. Subannual formation is supported by observations that several such layers of snow and ice can result from the storms within a single winter season.
Between the years of 17, James Hutton and William Smith advanced the concept of relative dating.
Hutton, a Scottish geologist, first proposed formally the fundamental principle used to classify rocks according to their relative ages.
Dendrochronology is a technique of dating past climatic changes through a study of tree ring growth.