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absolute age


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The age of a geologic phenomenon measured in present Earth years, rather than its age relative to other geologic phenomena (compare relative age). The term ‘absolute age’ has been considered rather misleading, as the means for measuring ages (radiometric dating, dendrochronology, varve analysis) are subject to experimental error and the dates obtained are not precise. The alternative term *‘apparent age’ has been suggested, but nowadays it is usual to link a statement of age with the technique used to determine it, to distinguish that age from an age in calendar or solar years (e.g. to state an age in ‘radiocarbon years’). See also dating methods.


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