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The lava flow took place some time after the diorite cooled, was uplifted, and then eroded.

[SE ]Figure 8.9 The four types of unconformities: (a) a nonconformity between non-sedimentary rock and sedimentary rock, (b) an angular unconformity, (c) a disconformity between layers of sedimentary rock, where the older rock has been eroded but not tilted, and (d) a paraconformity where there is a long period (millions of years) of non-deposition between two parallel layers.

For example, the principle of superposition states that sedimentary layers are deposited in sequence, and, unless the entire sequence has been turned over by tectonic processes or disrupted by faulting, the layers at the bottom are older than those at the top.

The principle of inclusions states that any rock fragments that are included in rock must be older than the rock in which they are included.

For example, a xenolith in an igneous rock or a clast in sedimentary rock must be older than the rock that includes it (Figure 8.6).

Figure 8.6a A xenolith of diorite incorporated into a basalt lava flow, Mauna Kea volcano, Hawaii.

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The simplest and most intuitive way of dating geological features is to look at the relationships between them.

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