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Determination of equivalence is based on: fossils present - Fossils are key indicators of relative age (life has evolved through time) and environments of deposition.
Over the past 150 years detailed studies of rocks throughout the world based on stratigraphic, paleontologic, and correlation studies have allowed geologists to correlate rock units throughout the world and break them into time stratigraphic units.
We call such a break in the stratigraphic record a hiatus (a hiatus was identified in our trash pit example by the non-occurrence of the Ceramic Cups layer at the UNO site).
When we find evidence of a hiatus in the stratigraphic record we call it an unconformity.
Stratigraphic Superposition - Because of Earth's gravity, deposition of sediment will occur depositing older layers first followed by successively younger layers.
Assumptions include, the initial temperature of the Earth when it formed, the present temperature throughout the interior of the Earth, and that there are no internal sources of heat. To better understand these concepts, let's look at an archeological example: Imagine we are a group of archeologists studying two different trash pits recently discovered. Nelson Tulane University In order to understand how geologists deal with time we first need to understand the concepts of relative age and absolute age.With this discovery, Radiometric dating techniques became possible, and gave us a means of measuring absolute geologic time.Radiometric Dating Radiometric dating relies on the fact that there are different types of isotopes.