Relative- age dating compares past geologic events based on where objects appear relative to one another in layers, or strata, of rock.
In contrast, absolute-age dating provides an accurate estimate of an object's actual age.
To learn more about how volcanoes have created the Hawaiian Islands, check out Plate Tectonics: The Hawaiian Archipelago.
Regarding opals, Darwinian bias led geologists to long ignore possible quick action, as from microbes, as a possible explanation for these mineraloids.
Scientists rely on other data sources, such as tree rings, to estimate variations in carbon-14 concentrations over time.
They use these estimates to interpret the ratio of carbon-12 and carbon-14 and ultimately to produce an accurate date of death for an organic object.
For hundreds of thousands of years, lava flows have created intricate patterns on the slopes of Hawaiʻi's Mauna Loa volcano.
Until the mid-1970s, it was impossible to know when each of the flows occurred.