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Following the Principle of Original Horizontality, he could say that whatever forces caused the deformation, like an earthquake, must have occurred after the formation of all the rock strata.
Imagine that you're a geologist, studying the amazing rock formations of the Grand Canyon.
Your goal is to study the smooth, parallel layers of rock to learn how the land built up over geologic time.
We could assume that this igneous intrusion must have happened after the formation of the strata.
If it had happened before the layers had formed, then we wouldn't see it punching through all the layers; we would only see it going through the layers that had existed at the time that it happened. The Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships states that rock formations that cut across other rocks must be younger than the rocks that they cut across.
Other times, geologists discover patterns in rock layers that give them confusing information.