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Free 5-day trial Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age.Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past.Let's say, in this set of rock strata, that we found a single intrusion of igneous rock punching through the sedimentary layers.We could assume that this igneous intrusion must have happened after the formation of the strata.

Now, what if instead of being horizontal, this rock layer was found in a tilted position?

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

We follow this same idea, with a few variations, when we talk about cross-cutting relationships in rock.

How do we use the Law of Superposition to establish relative dates?

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

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