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Principles of Stratigraphy Stratigraphy is the study of strata (sedimentary layers) in the Earth's crust.
Geologist in the 1800s worked out 7 basic principles of stratigraphy that allowed them, and now us, to work out the relative ages of rocks.
The goal of this lecture is come to come to a scientific understanding of geologic time and the age of the Earth.
In order to do so we will have to understand the following: To better understand these concepts, let's look at an archeological example: Imagine we are a group of archeologists studying two different trash pits recently discovered on the Tulane University campus and at the Audubon Zoo (where they all aksed for you).
Look at the many photographs of the Grand Canyon in your textbook.
Thus, if the strata are later uplifted and then cut by a canyon, we know that the same strata would be expected to occur on both sides of the canyon.
From the beginning of this course, we have stated that the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old.
How do we know this and how do we know the ages of other events in Earth history?
Once these age relations were worked out, another principle fell into place - the principle of fossil succession.
We discuss the 7 principles of stratigraphy first and then see how these apply to fossils.