However, human beings love to see factual precision, and we want to know how old something is.Please remember that all dating methods, even those termed "absolute," are subject to margins of error. That is a very small amount of possible error range. Modern studies almost always use two or more methods to confirm dating work and to build confidence in the results obtained.These tests have consistently given the same ages for each of these objects.Examples of a number of consistent dates derived from different methods are given.This is made up of numerous regional tree-ring chronologies, particularly in the medieval and post-medieval periods, for which the laboratory now has more than 200 reference chronologies from many areas. By comparing the proportion of K-40 to Ar-40 in a sample of volcanic rock, and knowing the decay rate of K-40, the date that the rock formed can be determined.There are over 130 radiocarbon dating laboratories around the world producing radiocarbon assays for the scientific community. A series of movie clips walks you through the process.Trees from the same species, growing in the same area or environment will be exposed to the same conditions, and hence their growth rings will match at the point where their lifecycles overlap.Earth's oldest living inhabitant "Methuselah" at 4,767 years, has lived more than a millennium longer than any other tree.
A specialized form of cross-dating, using animal and plant fossils, is known as biostratigraphy.
Hutton, a Scottish geologist, first proposed formally the fundamental principle used to classify rocks according to their relative ages.
He concluded, after studying rocks at many outcrops, that each layer represented a specific interval of geologic time.
A short but clear explanation about radioactive isotopes commonly used for determining ages of rocks (with graphics) and putting numbers on the geologic time scale, extending it back before the occurance of abundant index fossils.
This is a relatively new method intended to to improve the precision of uranium and thorium istopy methods.