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The image is about 7 m across.) [SE photo] An unconformity represents an interruption in the process of deposition of sedimentary rocks.Recognizing unconformities is important for understanding time relationships in sedimentary sequences.An example of this is given in Figure 8.7, which shows three different sedimentary layers.The lower sandstone layer is disrupted by two faults, so we can infer that the faults are younger than that layer.The difference in time between the youngest of the Proterozoic rocks and the oldest of the Paleozoic rocks is close to 300 million years.

The tilted rocks at the bottom are part of the Proterozoic Grand Canyon Group (aged 825 to 1,250 Ma).Mountains have been built and eroded, continents and oceans have moved great distances, and the Earth has fluctuated from being extremely cold and almost completely covered with ice to being very warm and ice-free.These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.The principle of inclusions states that any rock fragments that are included in rock must be older than the rock in which they are included.For example, a xenolith in an igneous rock or a clast in sedimentary rock must be older than the rock that includes it (Figure 8.6).

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