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It can't float in mid-air, particularly if the material involved is sand, mud, or molten rock.

The principle of superposition therefore has a clear implication for the age of a vertical succession of strata.

They are applied by geologists in the same sense that a "null hypothesis" is in statistics -- not necessarily correct, just testable.

In the last 200 or more years of their application, they are valid, but geologists do not assume they are.

The layers of rock are known as "strata", and the study of their succession is known as "stratigraphy".