Methods of estimating the age of rocks, palaeontological specimens, archaeological sites, etc. Relative dating techniques date specimens in relation to one another; for example, stratigraphy is used to establish the succession of fossils. Absolute (or chronometric) techniques give an absolute estimate of the age and fall into two main groups. The first depends on the existence of something that develops at a seasonally varying rate, as in dendrochronology and varve dating. The other uses some measurable change that occurs at a known rate, as in chemical dating, radioactive (or radiometric) dating (see carbon dating; fission-track dating; potassium-argon dating; rubidium-strontium dating; uranium-lead dating), and thermoluminescence.
Subjects: Chemistry — Biological Sciences.