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Similarly, in geologic studies, vast quantities of information from widely spaced outcrops have to be integrated.Some method of correlating rock units must be found.Using this established record, geologists have been able to piece together events over the past 635 million years, or about one-eighth of Earth history, during which time useful fossils have been abundant.

Great uplift, accompanied by rapid erosion, is taking place and large sediment fans are being deposited in the Indian Ocean to the south.It is only by correlations that the conditions on different parts of Earth at any particular stage in its history can be deduced.In addition, because sediment deposition is not continuous and much rock material has been removed by erosion, the fossil record from many localities has to be integrated before a complete picture of the evolution of life on Earth can be assembled.The two approaches are often complementary, as when a sequence of occurrences in one context can be correlated with an absolute chronlogy elsewhere.Local relationships on a single outcrop or archaeological site can often be interpreted to deduce the sequence in which the materials were assembled.