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Relative dating does not provide actual numerical dates for the rocks.

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Students begin by observing a photograph and a diagram of rock layers near Whanganui, watch an animation about how the layers were formed, then use an interactive labelling diagram to work out the order in which the rocks were created.

The activity offers literacy opportunities as well as practice using the science capability 'Interpret representations'.

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Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence.

The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy (layers of rock are called strata).Correlation with them has helped geologists date many New Zealand rocks, including those containing dinosaurs.Bring relative dating principles to life with the activity Rock layers and relative dating.Throughout the history of life, different organisms have appeared, flourished and become extinct.Many of these organisms have left their remains as fossils in sedimentary rocks.Absolute dating, also called numerical dating, arranges the historical remains in order of their ages.

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