WK2Lab: Geologic time Part 2: Relative dating methods: Using the diagram below, and the rules of relative dating, answer the following questions. Which unit was being deposited when the fault happened? Explain why the funny line between units 3 and 4 is a disconformity, and not an angular unconformity. Hypothetically, if the trees and ground at the top were covered by the ocean, and deposition resumed, what type of unconformity would be above unit 12, and why? Would unit 11 likely to be present when the fault happened? If unit 2 has oil, and unit 3 is shale, what part of unit 2 would you drill into, above or below the fault, and why?
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Rapid rock formation can be seen happening such as lava cooling from a volcanic eruption in places like Hawaii or Iceland.
However, most rocks we see around us form very slowly in settings that are not visible on the land surface.
The lightest element, hydrogen, has one proton, whereas the heaviest naturally occurring element, uranium, has 92 protons. Isotopes are each of two or more forms of the same element that contain equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, and hence differ in relative atomic mass but not in chemical properties.
Some isotopes are not stable and ultimately break down or change in other elements.
Slow processes creating rocks can be inferred by observing reefs growing in the oceans, or sediments being carried by flowing water in streams or moved by waves crashing on beaches.
We can see sediments being deposited, but we cannot see them turning into stone because the process may take thousand or even millions of years.
Everything around us is made of chemical compounds that have testable and identifying characteristics, allowing them to be classified, and their age determined.
This also applies to rocks, minerals, and derivative materials (such as sediments and soil).
I this case, the isotope is considered a radioactive form of an element.