See more information about "Strata" Smith and his original geologic map of England.
Information about Simon Winchester's delightful biography of Smith, The Map That Changed the World is available at Tree-Ring dating is based on the principle that the growth rings on certain species of trees reflect variations in seasonal and annual rainfall.
Cross-dating is a technique used to take advantage of consistencies in stratigraphy between parts of a site or different sites, and objects or strata with a known relative chronology.
A specialized form of cross-dating, using animal and plant fossils, is known as biostratigraphy.
Keyed to the relative time scale are examples of index fossils, the forms of life which existed during limited periods of geologic time and thus are used as guides to the age of the rocks in which they are preserved.