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Relative dating cannot establish absolute age, but it can establish whether one rock is older or younger than another.Relative dating requires an extensive knowledge of stratigraphic succession, a fancy term for the way rock strata are built up and changed by geologic processes.
The same idea applies to fault lines that slide rock layers apart from each other; a fault that cuts across a set of strata must have occurred after the formation of that set.
Let's say, in this set of rock strata, that we found a single intrusion of igneous rock punching through the sedimentary layers.
We could assume that this igneous intrusion must have happened after the formation of the strata.
Inclusions are always older than the sedimentary rock within which they are found.
Other times, geologists discover patterns in rock layers that give them confusing information.
Your goal is to study the smooth, parallel layers of rock to learn how the land built up over geologic time.