Scientists, including geologists and archeologists have developed numerous techniques for determining the age of everything. Perhaps the most famous tool is radiocarbon dating, which measures the decay of the unstable isotope, C-14 to determine the age of fossils up to 50,000 years old. Radiometric or radioactive dating is used for measuring the age of older fossils or geological events.
Earth history is inferred from a great many lines of evidence in addition to radiometric dating. For example, finding a deposit of pebbles (conglomerate) within a layer of sandstone would suggest that there was more energy in the environment for a brief period. That might indicate more river action, or it might indicate a major storm along a beach area. We use the timing of things like folds and faults to infer the tectonic history of mountain building. There are dozens of types of information that, when integrated together, point to a reasonable re-creation of past circumstances, even many many millions of years ago.
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