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Relative time places events or formations in order based on their position within the rock record relative to one another using six principles of relative dating.

Relative time can not determine the actual year a material was deposited or how long deposition lasted; it simply tell us which events came first.

His principle of superposition of strata states that in a sequence of strata, as originally laid down, any stratum is younger than the one on which it rests and older than the one that rests upon it.

..that within a sequence of layers of sedimentary rock, the oldest layer is at the base and that the layers are progressively younger with ascending order in the sequence.

The thick, dark, gray layer at the bottom is made of basalt. You have just used the principle of superposition to interpret the relative ages of the layers.

Over time, the layers in this picture have eroded away so that layers that were once covered are now exposed.With this in mind geologist have long known that the deeper a sedimentary rock layer is the older it is, but how old?Although there might be some mineral differences due to the difference in source rock, most sedimentary rock deposited year after year look very similar to one another.Using relative dating principles and the position of layers within rock, it is possible to reconstruct the sequence of geologic events that have occurred at a site.In the image below, cliffs along the Snake River show signs of volcanic activity and deposition.

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