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Absolute dating is the process of determining an age on a specified chronology in archaeology and geology.

Some scientists prefer the terms chronometric or calendar dating, as use of the word "absolute" implies an unwarranted certainty of accuracy.

In historical geology, the primary methods of absolute dating involve using the radioactive decay of elements trapped in rocks or minerals, including isotope systems from very young (radiocarbon dating with Radiometric dating is based on the known and constant rate of decay of radioactive isotopes into their radiogenic daughter isotopes.

Particular isotopes are suitable for different applications due to the type of atoms present in the mineral or other material and its approximate age.

Relative dating is the science of determining the relative order of past events (i.e., the age of an object in comparison to another), without necessarily determining their absolute age, (i.e. In geology, rock or superficial deposits, fossils and lithologies can be used to correlate one stratigraphic column with another.

Prior to the discovery of radiometric dating in the early 20th century, which provided a means of absolute dating, archaeologists and geologists used relative dating to determine ages of materials.

Photo from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.He graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in chemistry.There, he met his future wife, Lorna (Laurie) Mc Cleary. Both were then sent to work on the Manhattan Project, first at the University of Chicago and then at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he encountered mass spectrometry. After a postdoctoral year at Chicago, Patterson moved with Brown to the Division of Geology (later the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences) at the California Institute of Technology in 1952, as founding members of its geochemistry program.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.

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