See more information about "Strata" Smith and his original geologic map of England.
Information about Simon Winchester's delightful biography of Smith, The Map That Changed the World is available at Tree-Ring dating is based on the principle that the growth rings on certain species of trees reflect variations in seasonal and annual rainfall.
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.
Keyed to the relative time scale are examples of index fossils, the forms of life which existed during limited periods of geologic time and thus are used as guides to the age of the rocks in which they are preserved.
William "Strata" Smith, a civil engineer and surveyor, was well acquainted with areas in southern England where "limestone and shales are layered like slices of bread and butter." His hobby of collecting and cataloging fossil shells from these rocks led to the discovery that certain layers contained fossils unlike those in other layers.
Earth's oldest living inhabitant "Methuselah" at 4,767 years, has lived more than a millennium longer than any other tree.
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.
The Carbon14 technique has been and continues to be applied and used in many, many different fields including hydrology, atmospheric science, oceanography, geology, palaeoclimatology, archaeology and biomedicine. Isochron methods avoid the problems which can potentially result during radiometric testing.
Be sure to see An Animated Isochron Diagram, or, Watching a Rock Age on an Isochron Diagram. Radiometric Dating from The Evolution Evidence Page.