These include some that establish a relative chronology in which occurrences can be placed in the correct sequence relative to one another or to some known succession of events.
Radiometric dating and certain other approaches are used to provide absolute chronologies in terms of years before the present.
In addition, they have had to develop special techniques with which to dissolve these highly refractory minerals without contaminating the small amount (about one-billionth of a gram) of contained lead and uranium on which the age must be calculated.
The need to correlate over the rest of geologic time, to correlate nonfossiliferous units, and to calibrate the fossil time scale has led to the development of a specialized field that makes use of natural radioactive isotopes in order to calculate absolute isotopes has been improved to the point that for rocks 3 billion years old geologically meaningful errors of less than ±1 million years can be obtained.Development of this process was aided by German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, who later went on to discover nuclear fission in December 1938.The utility of the rubidium–strontium isotope system results from the fact that Sr with a half-life of 49.23 billion years.It is only by correlations that the conditions on different parts of Earth at any particular stage in its history can be deduced.In addition, because sediment deposition is not continuous and much rock material has been removed by erosion, the fossil record from many localities has to be integrated before a complete picture of the evolution of life on Earth can be assembled.
Search for strontium dating:
Dating, in geology, determining a chronology or calendar of events in the history of Earth, using to a large degree the evidence of organic evolution in the sedimentary rocks accumulated through geologic time in marine and continental environments.