Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Absolute and Relative Ages

  • Daniele L. PintiEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5155-1


In geochronology, the absolute age of a rock is the age obtained from the measurement of spontaneous decay of radioactive nuclides contained in the rocks or its constituent minerals. It differs from the relative age. This latter is the age of a rock obtained from time and space relations between rock formations, giving only qualitative or semiquantitative information on the period when the rock formed.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GEOTOP Research Center for Geochemistry and GeodynamicsUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada