What is the difference between relative dating and radiometric dating?

Description of a geological feature is done by the use of parameters such as relative dating and radiometric dating.

The core difference between relative dating and radiometric dating is that relative dating does not provide actual numerical data whereas radiometric dating is a dating that provides actual numerical data.

## Comparison Table between Relative Dating and Radiometric Dating

Basic Terms |
Relative Dating |
Radiometric Dating |

Description | It is a science of determining the relative order of past events without determining their absolute age | It is a science of determining the actual order of events by determining their absolute age |

Values | Do not provide actual numerical data | Provide actual numerical data |

Importance | Provide the sequence of past events | Determine the actual age of past events |

Type of material dated | Sedimentary and volcanic rocks | Dating fossils and rocks |

Technique | Based on the principle of horizontality, superstitions, and faunal succession | Electron spin resonance and thermoluminescence |

Principle | Assessment is based on the comparison of undeformed sedimentary rock layers | Assess the effect of radioactivity on the accumulation of electrons in traps in the crystal structure. |

## What Is Relative Dating?

It is the science of dating the relative age of geological events preserved in the rock records depending on the relative ages of the strata.

Strata refer to the horizontal layers at the surface of the earth. Therefore, stratigraphy is the study of strata in determining the relative age of rocks.

Relative dating is quite vital in dating sedimentary and volcanic rocks. These rocks have layers where the bottom layers are old and the top surface layer is the youngest.

Relative dating is based on the principle of horizontality, superstition, and faunal succession.

## What Is Radiometric Dating?

It is a science of determining the age of rocks and fossils. The dating is typically used to determine the absolute age of geological events in rocks and fossils.

The dating method is based on the radioactivity decay of specific elements such as potassium and carbon.

The technique involves the use of electron spin resonance and thermoluminescence. The method is quite vital in determining the effect of the radioactivity of the accumulation of electrons trap in a crystal structure.

The principle of determining the age of rocks and fossils is radioactive decay. For instance, the parent isotope decay into daughter isotope which implies the half-life of an isotope.

## Main Difference between Relative Dating and Radiometric Dating In Point Form

- Relative dating is a dating method that provides relative order of events by determining the approximate age whereas radiometric dating tend to provide the actual order of events by determining their actual ages
- Radiometric dating provide actual numerical dates whereas relative dating cannot provide actual numerical dates
- Relative dating is important in determining the sequence of events whereas radiometric dating provides the actual ages of geological events.
- Relative dating is based on the principle of undeformed sedimentary rocks whereas radiometric dating on the principle of radioactivity decay
- The method of relative dating is original horizontality, superstition, and faunal succession while that of radiometric dating is electron spin resonance and thermoluminescence
- The material for relative dating is sedimentary and volcanic rocks whereas that of radiometric dating is radioactive dating

## Similarities Between Relative Dating And Radiometric Dating

- Both methods are used in archeology for dating fossils and rocks
- Both dating help to understand fossils properly
- Both help in determining the age of the fossils and rocks

## Comparison Video (Relative Dating vs Radiometric Dating)

## Summary

The core difference between relative dating and radioactive dating is based on the principle and the type of dating. The two datings are vital in determining the absolute age of geological events.

**More Sources and References**

- Radiometric Dating. Wikipedia
- Relative Dating. Science Learning Hub