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However, human beings love to see factual precision, and we want to know how old something is.

Please remember that all dating methods, even those termed "absolute," are subject to margins of error. That is a very small amount of possible error range. Modern studies almost always use two or more methods to confirm dating work and to build confidence in the results obtained.

Hutton, a Scottish geologist, first proposed formally the fundamental principle used to classify rocks according to their relative ages.

He concluded, after studying rocks at many outcrops, that each layer represented a specific interval of geologic time.

The most compelling argument for an age of the earth of 4.5 billion years are the large number of independent tests that have been used to confirm this date.

These tests have been performed on what are thought to be the earth's oldest surviving rocks, meteorites, and moon rocks.

There are over 130 radiocarbon dating laboratories around the world producing radiocarbon assays for the scientific community. A series of movie clips walks you through the process.Overview of Methods Superposition Stratigraphy Dendrochronology Radiocarbon C14 Radiometric Dating Methods Obsidian Hydration Dating Paleomagnetic/Archaeomagnetic Luminescence Dating Methods Amino Acid Racemization Fission-track Dating Ice Cores Varves Pollens Corals Cation Ratio Fluorine Dating Patination Oxidizable Carbon Ratio Electron Spin Resonance Cosmic-ray Exposure Dating This is an excellent overview of dating methodologies, and is a chapter in a textbook on Archaeology.You may find it useful for the clear definitions, and for excellent links on a variety of topic.See more information about "Strata" Smith and his original geologic map of England.Information about Simon Winchester's delightful biography of Smith, The Map That Changed the World is available at Tree-Ring dating is based on the principle that the growth rings on certain species of trees reflect variations in seasonal and annual rainfall.

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