If a fossil has been dated radiometrically in one place, correlation allows use to work out the age in other places.In the above example, we know that the fossil in Nevada is slightly older than the ash layer dated to 507 million years old.
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Volcanic rocks – such as tuff and basalt – can be used in dating because they are formed at a particular moment in time, during an eruption.
Sedimentary rocks are rarely useful for dating because they are made up of bits of older rocks.
Uranium is present in many different rocks and minerals, usually in the form of uranium-238.
This form of uranium usually decays into a stable lead isotope but the uranium atoms can also split – a process known as fission.
Not every rock can be dated this way, but volcanic ash deposits are among those that can be dated.