Grand canyon relative dating

grand canyon relative dating

How old is the Grand Canyon?

With one of the clearest exposures of the rock record and a long, diverse geologic history, Grand Canyon is an ideal place to gain a sense of geologic or “deep” time. The oldest rocks exposed in the canyon are ancient, 1,840 million years old. Conversely, the canyon itself is geologically young, having been carved in the last 6 million years.

How do scientists determine the age of rocks in the Grand Canyon?

Depending on the availability of datable material (e.g., diagnostic minerals suitable for radiometric dating) and the presence of index fossils, investigators have used both techniques to discern the ages of rocks exposed in the Grand Canyon.

What can we learn from the Grand Canyon?

The eroded cliffs reveal 1.7 billion years of fossils, volcanic activity, and geologic history. With one of the clearest exposures of the rock record and a long, diverse geologic history, Grand Canyon is an ideal place to gain a sense of geologic or “deep” time.

What is the purpose of the Grand Canyon database?

The goal was to develop a single list of numeric ages that users could apply consistently, thereby facilitating comprehension of the geologic history and features of the Grand Canyon. Two major categories of geologic dating techniques exist: relative dating and absolute age determinations.

Is the Grand Canyon 70 million years old?

Some scientists believe that the Grand Canyon is 70 million years old. Others contend that the natural wonder is only between five and six million years old. Both are right. Scientists examined rocks from the Grand Canyon with the so-called thermo chronology method.

When did the Grand Canyon start and end?

Research suggests that the Colorado River is estimated to have started eroding and downcutting the Grand Canyon at least 17 million years ago to as much as 70 million years ago, depending on who you ask and what section of the Grand Canyon you are asking about. But when did the downcutting “finish”?

How old are the walls of the Grand Canyon?

One thing geologists can agree on is the age of the layers of rock that make up the walls of the Grand Canyon. The youngest layer of the canyon—the Kaibab—is 270 million years old, while the oldest layers date back as far as 1.8 billion years.

Is the Grand Canyon older than the dinosaurs?

Karlstrom and his colleagues challenged the idea that the gorge we know as the Grand Canyon was around in the age of the dinosaurs. In research also backed by thermochronology, they argued that though some sections of it are older, the canyon as it exists today is no more than 6 million years old.

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