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the determination of the age of an object, of a natural phenomenon, or of a series of events.There are two basic types of dating methods, relative and absolute.These examples are from the Cambridge English Corpus and from sources on the web.Any opinions in the examples do not represent the opinion of the Cambridge Dictionary editors or of Cambridge University Press or its licensors.Through the investigation of many different stratigraphic contexts, a master sequence of fossil and floral assemblages may be devised for a region.Absolute dating can be achieved through the use of historical records and through the analysis of biological and geological patterns resulting from annual climatic variations, such as tree rings (dendrochronology) and varve analysis.

The principle of stratigraphic dating is used to establish the relative age of these floral and fossil assemblages.In relative dating, the temporal order of a sequence of events is determined, allowing the investigator to surmise whether a particular object or event is older or younger than, or occurred before or after, another object or event.In absolute or chronometric dating, the investigator establishes the age of an object or event in calendar years.Stratigraphic dating assumes that the lower layers in any particular profile are older than the upper layers in that profile ("the law of superposition") and that an object cannot be older than the materials of which it is composed.Igneous masses are dated according to whether they caused metamorphism in the surrounding rock (proof of emplacement in preexisting rock) or whether sediments were deposited on them after they were formed.

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