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05-Apr-2020 14:18

The ten strata systems that compose the “standard geologic column” are the familiar Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary periods.

Although no absolute methods were available to establish actual dates, Lyell needed to assign very old dates to the strata to make them consistent with the long eons of time that would be necessary to meet the new uniformitarianism theory developed by James Hutton and himself.

William Smith's collecting and cataloging fossil shells from rocks led to the discovery that certain layers contained fossils unlike those in other layers (see: fossil sorting).

Using these key or index fossils as markers, geologists began to identify a particular layer of rock wherever it was exposed.

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This technique does not give specific ages to items.It only sequences the age of things or determines if something is older or younger than other things.