Relative age dating vs absolute age dating
Tools like radiometric dating allow some samples to be assigned a certain age to within some accuracy.Assigning a certain age or date is a form of absolute dating.
Long Answer: Sciences such as geology, paleontology and archeology are very interested in identifying the age of objects found and these scientists sometimes use either relative dating or absolute dating to characterize the age of the objects they study.If the archaeologist finds a sample suitable for carbon dating, then an absolute date may be assigned to an object.Similarly for paleontologists who find layers of fossils.By deducing which fossils are formed in the sequence of time, the periods when the particular fossilized entities existed can be arranged in order without the actual dates of when the fossils were laid down.Short Answer: Both relative dating and absolute dating are tools used to give temporal characteristics to a sequence of events.Both are attempting to get information on the history of events.
The primary difference is that absolute dating assigns an actual time or age to an event or object.
Relative dating simply says one is older than the other but no age is specified.
Before radiometric dating it was difficult to determine the actual age of an object.
Radiometric dating, based on known rates of decay of radioactive isotopes in objects, allows a specific age of an object to be determined to some degree of accuracy.
The circumstances of the object may allow one to say that one object is older than another without being able to assign a particular age to the objects.
For example: If an archaeologist is studying past civilizations, the archaeologist may be able to say that in a particular location the ruins of once civilization were found to have been build on another and so the layers unearthed in an excavation convey the sequence of historical occupations without revealing the actual dates.