Difference between relative absolute dating

Short Answer: The term relative dating is distinguished from absolute dating to make it clear that one does not get a specific estimate of the age of an object from relative dating, but one does get such an estimate of true age from absolute dating.

An absolute age is one determined usually by mass-spectrometry where an isotope is measured and then an age can be calculated (a very very basic explanation).Some scientists prefer the terms chronometric or calendar dating, as use of the word "absolute" implies an unwarranted certainty and precision.Absolute dating provides a computed numerical age in contrast with relative dating which provides only an order of events.In micro paleontological analysis, you may not need the general view if all you are trying to establish is which of two foraminifera is the older.However, if you are mapping an area, if you want to fit your local intuition into the regional picture, you could not do without absolute dating.

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