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Geologists have established a set of principles that can be applied to sedimentary and volcanic rocks that are exposed at the Earth's surface to determine the relative ages of geological events preserved in the rock record.For example, in the rocks exposed in the walls of the Grand Canyon (Figure 1) there are many horizontal layers, which are called strata.

Accordingly, the oldest rocks in a sequence are at the bottom and the youngest rocks are at the top.

" First, the relative age of a fossil can be determined.

Relative dating puts geologic events in chronological order without requiring that a specific numerical age be assigned to each event.

Sometimes sedimentary rocks are disturbed by events, such as fault movements, that cut across layers after the rocks were deposited.

This is the principle of cross-cutting relationships.

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