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There would be few geological studies in which, at some stage, there did not arise a question of timing. The answer is often to be found through direct observation; the principles of superposition and crosscutting relationships apply in determining the order of events on all scales from the microscopic to the macroscopic, from crystallization history to continental assembly. By augmenting those principles with the means to establish sequence and correlation provided by palaeontology, the geologist has the capability, through observation and logical reasoning alone, to determine the relative ages of a great range of geological processes. However, while these...

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