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Some method of correlating rock units must be found.
In the ideal case, the geologist will discover a single rock unit with a unique collection of easily observed attributes called a marker horizon that can be found at widely spaced localities.
The two approaches are often complementary, as when a sequence of occurrences in one context can be correlated with an absolute chronlogy elsewhere.
It should be emphasized that linking sites together is essential if the nature of an ancient society is to be understood, as the information at a single location may be relatively insignificant by itself.
Similarly, in geologic studies, vast quantities of information from widely spaced outcrops have to be integrated.
organisms, geologists employ a variety of techniques.
These include some that establish a relative chronology in which occurrences can be placed in the correct sequence relative to one another or to some known succession of events.