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Principle of Uniformitarianism The principle of Uniformitarianism was postulated by James Hutton (1726-1797) who examined rocks in Scotland and noted that features like mudcracks, ripple marks, graded bedding, etc.
Similarly, the rhyolite dike cuts only the mudstone and the sandstone, but does not cut across the shale.
Principles of Stratigraphy Stratigraphy is the study of strata (sedimentary layers) in the Earth's crust.
Geologist in the 1800s worked out 7 basic principles of stratigraphy that allowed them, and now us, to work out the relative ages of rocks.
Thus, in a sequence of layers that have not been overturned by a later deformational event, the oldest layer will be on the bottom and the youngest layer on top.
This is the same principle used to determine relative age in the trash pits discussed previously.