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Relative dating determines the order in which a sequence of past events occurred, but does not determine exactly when the geologic events happened.Absolute age determinations are numeric and identify when, in years, specific events happened.Both techniques are important in different geologic situations.We then describe Grand Canyon rocks as belonging to three “sets,” or packages of rocks, each with unique geologic histories, and present a compilation of “best” numeric ages for Grand Canyon rocks to use when explaining Grand Canyon geology to the public.There are two major categories of geologic dating techniques: relative dating and absolute age determinations .
Nonetheless, how geologists determine the age of rocks is a mystery to many members of the public, and even to many park rangers [see Photo 2], guides, and others who share the canyon’s geologic story with others.” when geologists say a Grand Canyon rock formed 270 million years ago.Photo 1: Many people consider Grand Canyon National Park the world’s premiere geologic landscape and a “geologic wonder”.Grand Canyon contains many important geologic resources, including a vast fossil record ranging from Precambrian stromatolites to Ice Age mammal bones and dung found in caves; a potentially active volcanic field in the western Grand Canyon; a geologic history ranging more than 1.7 billion years; and the canyon landscape itself as the greatest example of arid land erosion.Rocks exposed in Grand Canyon are truly ancient, ranging from 1840 million years old (m.y.), or 1.84 billion years old (b.y.), to 270 m.y.
There are younger geologic deposits in Grand Canyon too, such as the Ice Age fossils found in caves, a 1000-year-old lava flow in the western canyon, and even the debris flow deposits that continue form each year.