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From top to bottom: Rounded tan domes of the Navajo Sandstone, layered red Kayenta Formation, cliff-forming, vertically jointed, red Wingate Sandstone, slope-forming, purplish Chinle Formation, layered, lighter-red Moenkopi Formation, and white, layered Cutler Formation sandstone.

As organisms exist at the same time period throughout the world, their presence or (sometimes) absence may be used to provide a relative age of the formations in which they are found.

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.

There are a number of different types of intrusions, including stocks, laccoliths, batholiths, sills and dikes.

Cross-cutting relations can be used to determine the relative ages of rock strata and other geological structures.

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