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Geologists still use the following principles today as a means to provide information about geologic history and the timing of geologic events.The principle of Uniformitarianism states that the geologic processes observed in operation that modify the Earth's crust at present have worked in much the same way over geologic time.Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.
As organisms exist at the same time period throughout the world, their presence or (sometimes) absence may be used to provide a relative age of the formations in which they are found.
This is because it is not possible for a younger layer to slip beneath a layer previously deposited.
The only disturbance that the layers experience is bioturbation, in which animals and/or plants move things in the layers.
Faults are younger than the rocks they cut; accordingly, if a fault is found that penetrates some formations but not those on top of it, then the formations that were cut are older than the fault, and the ones that are not cut must be younger than the fault.
Finding the key bed in these situations may help determine whether the fault is a normal fault or a thrust fault.