Absolute dating methods

Venus, Io, Europa, Titan, and Triton have a similar problem.On almost all the other solid-surfaced planets in the solar system, impact craters are everywhere. We use craters to establish relative age dates in two ways.This all has to do with describing how long ago something happened. There are several ways we figure out relative ages.The simplest is the law of superposition: if thing A is deposited on top of (or cuts across, or obliterates) thing B, then thing B must have been there already when thing A happened, so thing B is older than thing A.In fact, I have sitting in front of me on my desk a two-volume work on is not light reading, but I think that every Earth or space scientist should have a copy in his or her library -- and make that the latest edition.In the time since the previous geologic time scale was published in 2004, most of the boundaries between Earth's various geologic ages have shifted by a million years or so, and one of them (the Carnian-Norian boundary within the late Triassic epoch) has shifted by 12 million years.

Relative-age time periods are what make up the Geologic Time Scale.

Just like a stack of sedimentary rocks, time is recorded in horizontal layers, with the oldest layer on the bottom, superposed by ever-younger layers, until you get to the most recent stuff on the tippy top.

On Earth, we have a very powerful method of relative age dating: fossil assemblages.

On other solid-surfaced worlds -- which I'll call "planets" for brevity, even though I'm including moons and asteroids -- we haven't yet found a single fossil.

Something else must serve to establish a relative time sequence. Earth is an unusual planet in that it doesn't have very many impact craters -- they've mostly been obliterated by active geology.