Nicholas Steno, a Danish bishop and scientist, came to question much of what was understood at the time in the fields of natural history, paleontology, and stratigraphy.In the 17 Century Steno published what was then the authoritative work on these subjects, and from this, modern geologists have determined what they call Steno's Laws.Cliffs, road cuts, and non-vegetated landscapes allow us glimpses into geology which is often hidden from view.
Just as Sherlock Holmes used his power of observation to decipher the clues to a suspect's past actions, we will let the blemishes and behaviors of the rocks tell us their past story. ) Remember that relative dating involves determining "which came first" rather than "exactly when did this happen." The first step to untangling the geologic history of an area is often to figure out what happened first, second and third, etc.
without knowing the absolute ages at which the rocks themselves formed.
By the definition of a half-life, the amount of parent isotope at each half-life is half of what it was before the half-life elapsed.
As the amount of parent isotope decreases by radioactive decay, the amount of the daughter isotope increases commensurately.
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