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Following the Principle of Original Horizontality, he could say that whatever forces caused the deformation, like an earthquake, must have occurred after the formation of all the rock strata.

Since we assume all the layers were originally horizontal, then anything that made them not horizontal had to have happened after the fact.

Let's look at these rock strata here: We have five layers total.

Let's say we find out, through numerical dating, that the rock layer shown above is 70 million years old.

Now imagine that you come upon a formation like this: What do you think of it? How can you make any conclusions about rock layers that make such a crazy arrangement?

Geologists establish the age of rocks in two ways: numerical dating and relative dating.

We could assume that this igneous intrusion must have happened after the formation of the strata.

If it had happened before the layers had formed, then we wouldn't see it punching through all the layers; we would only see it going through the layers that had existed at the time that it happened. The Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships states that rock formations that cut across other rocks must be younger than the rocks that they cut across.

In order to establish relative dates, geologists must make an initial assumption about the way rock strata are formed. sediments, which are deposited and compacted in one place over time.

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