Dating age and dates
Although with clever detective work many complex time sequences or relative ages can be deduced, the ability to show that objects at two separated sites were formed at the same time requires additional information.
A coin, vessel, or other common artifact could link two archaeological sites, but the possibility of recycling would have to be considered.
Any feature, including colour variations, textures, fossil content, mineralogy, or any unusual combinations of these can be used.
It is only by correlations that the conditions on different parts of Earth at any particular stage in its history can be deduced.
This then can be used to deduce the sequence of events and processes that took place or the history of that brief period of time as recorded in the rocks or soil.
In addition, because sediment deposition is not continuous and much rock material has been removed by erosion, the fossil record from many localities has to be integrated before a complete picture of the evolution of life on Earth can be assembled.
Using this established record, geologists have been able to piece together events over the past 635 million years, or about one-eighth of Earth history, during which time useful fossils have been abundant.
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To achieve this precision, geochronologists have had to develop the ability to isolate certain high-quality minerals that can be shown to have remained closed to migration of the radioactive parent atoms they contain and the daughter atoms formed by radioactive decay over billions of years of geologic time.