Relative dating lab

Throughout the history of life, different organisms have appeared, flourished and become extinct.Many of these organisms have left their remains as fossils in sedimentary rocks.Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence.The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy (layers of rock are called strata).The Sedimentologist and Paleontologist construct the layers and embedded features: The Sedimentologist flattens clay into stratigraphic layers, and the Paleontologist cuts out fossils to place between the layers to represent buried fossils and uses the red sprinkles to represent deposited ore.

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Each modeling clay layer represents the deposition of a sedimentary rock layer.Mining geologists rely on characteristics of stratigraphy to explore ore and mineral deposits.This article describes a three-day stratigraphy lab that incorporates relative age dating, ore and fossil deposits, making a geologic model using modeling clay as rock layers, and exploring the ways in which scientists discover mineral deposits (see NSTA Connection for complete student instructions and worksheets).Explore Students are tasked with creating a geologic model of stratigraphic layers with embedded fossils and mineral deposits.Different colors of modeling clay represent the stratigraphic layers.

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