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Faults are younger than the rocks they cut; accordingly, if a fault is found that penetrates some formations but not those on top of it, then the formations that were cut are older than the fault, and the ones that are not cut must be younger than the fault.

Finding the key bed in these situations may help determine whether the fault is a normal fault or a thrust fault.

In geology, when an igneous intrusion cuts across a formation of sedimentary rock, it can be determined that the igneous intrusion is younger than the sedimentary rock.

This is because it is not possible for a younger layer to slip beneath a layer previously deposited.

The only disturbance that the layers experience is bioturbation, in which animals and/or plants move things in the layers.

A similar situation with igneous rocks occurs when xenoliths are found.

These foreign bodies are picked up as magma or lava flows, and are incorporated, later to cool in the matrix.

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