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The principle of inclusions and components explains that, with sedimentary rocks, if inclusions (or clasts) are found in a formation, then the inclusions must be older than the formation that contains them.For example, in sedimentary rocks, it is common for gravel from an older formation to be ripped up and included in a newer layer.The principle of faunal succession is based on the appearance of fossils in sedimentary rocks.
This principle allows sedimentary layers to be viewed as a form of vertical time line, a partial or complete record of the time elapsed from deposition of the lowest layer to deposition of the highest bed.
Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.
Relative dating by biostratigraphy is the preferred method in paleontology and is, in some respects, more accurate.
As a result, xenoliths are older than the rock which contains them.
The principle of original horizontality states that the deposition of sediments occurs as essentially horizontal beds.