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Using this established record, geologists have been able to piece together events over the past 635 million years, or about one-eighth of Earth history, during which time useful fossils have been abundant.The need to correlate over the rest of geologic time, to correlate nonfossiliferous units, and to calibrate the fossil time scale has led to the development of a specialized field that makes use of natural radioactive isotopes in order to calculate absolute isotopes has been improved to the point that for rocks 3 billion years old geologically meaningful errors of less than ±1 million years can be obtained.The analyses are based on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS).Natural 14C can be used in numerous applications, of which radiocarbon dating, with the possibility for dating back to about 50000 years, is among the best-known and most practiced applications.This then can be used to deduce the sequence of events and processes that took place or the history of that brief period of time as recorded in the rocks or soil.For example, the presence of recycled bricks at an archaeological site indicates the sequence in which the structures were built.

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To date past events, processes, formations, and fossil organisms, geologists employ a variety of techniques.The Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory in Lund performs dating on geological and archaeological samples.Examples of material that we date are wood, charcoal, peat, macrofossils, bone and marine shells.These include some that establish a relative chronology in which occurrences can be placed in the correct sequence relative to one another or to some known succession of events.Radiometric dating and certain other approaches are used to provide absolute chronologies in terms of years before the present.

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