Superposition is a relative age dating principle which states

The principle of superposition claims that while we do not know what the state of any object is, it is actually in all possible states simultaneously, as long as we don't look to check.

It is the measurement itself that causes the object to be limited to a single possibility…

Use superposition to determine which is older: the road or the lava flow? states that a rock unit (or other geological feature, such as a fault) that is cut by another rock unit (or feature) must be older than the rock unit (or feature) that does the cutting.

Imagine cutting a slice of bread from a whole loaf.

Superposition is a principle of quantum theory that describes a challenging concept about the nature and behavior of matter and forces at the sub-atomic level.

In linear systems, the superposition principle states that a defined function has similar properties in different settings.

As an example, if f(A) produces result X, and f(B) results in Y, then f(A B) equals X Y.

Taughannock Falls near Trumansburg, New York, illustrating the Principle of Superposition. Superposition is observed not only in rocks, but also in our daily lives. The trash at the bottom was thrown out earlier than the trash that lies above it; the trash at the bottom is therefore older (and likely smellier! Or, think about a stack of old magazines or newspapers that might be sitting in your home or garage: most likely, the newspapers at the bottom of the pile have dates on them that are older than the newspapers at the top of the pile.

The photograph below was captured at Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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A curb in Hollister, California that is offset by the San Andreas fault. The cartoon below shows an imaginary sequence of rocks and geological events labeled A-I. This problem could be resolved, however, if we were to observe A cutting across H (i.e., the fault displacing the igneous intrusion).

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