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Thus, once the volcanic event has been independently dated, the tephra horizon will act as time marker.The main advantages of the technique are that the volcanic ash layers can be relatively easily identified in many sediments and that the tephra layers are deposited relatively instantaneously over a wide spatial area.Geochronology is different in application from biostratigraphy, which is the science of assigning sedimentary rocks to a known geological period via describing, cataloging and comparing fossil floral and faunal assemblages.Biostratigraphy does not directly provide an absolute age determination of a rock, but merely places it within an interval of time at which that fossil assemblage is known to have coexisted.By measuring the amount of radioactive decay of a radioactive isotope with a known half-life, geologists can establish the absolute age of the parent material.A number of radioactive isotopes are used for this purpose, and depending on the rate of decay, are used for dating different geological periods.

By combining multiple geochronological (and biostratigraphic) indicators the precision of the recovered age can be improved.To learn more or modify/prevent the use of cookies, see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.We provide science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods; the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on; the health of our ecosystems and environment; and the impacts of climate and land-use change.Both disciplines work together hand in hand, however, to the point where they share the same system of naming rock layers and the time spans utilized to classify layers within a stratum.The science of geochronology is the prime tool used in the discipline of chronostratigraphy, which attempts to derive absolute age dates for all fossil assemblages and determine the geologic history of the Earth and extraterrestrial bodies.

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