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The number of tracks increases over time at a rate that depends on the uranium content.It is possible to calculate the age of a sample by measuring the uranium content and the density of the fission tracks.Fossils and other objects that accumulate between these eruptions lie between two different layers of volcanic ash and rock.An object can be given an approximate date by dating the volcanic layers occurring above and below the object.This relatively new technique was developed in order to achieve more accurate dates than those obtained from the potassium-argon method.

Most fossils are found in sedimentary rocks deposited in layers.The heat from a volcanic eruption releases all the argon from the molten rock and disperses it into the atmosphere.Argon then starts to re-accumulate at a constant rate in the newly formed rock that is created after the eruption.This problem is now reduced by the careful collection of samples, rigorous crosschecking and the use of newer techniques that can date minute samples.Volcanic rocks – such as tuff and basalt – can be used in dating because they are formed at a particular moment in time, during an eruption.

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