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Potassium-argon dating , method of determining the time of origin of rocks by measuring the ratio of radioactive argon to radioactive potassium in the rock. This dating method is based upon the decay of radioactive potassium to radioactive argon in minerals and rocks; potassium also decays to calcium Thus, the ratio of argon and potassium and radiogenic calcium to potassium in a mineral or rock is a measure of the age of the sample. The calcium-potassium age method is seldom used, however, because of the great abundance of nonradiogenic calcium in minerals or rocks, which masks the presence of radiogenic calcium. On the other hand, the abundance of argon in the Earth is relatively small because of its escape to the atmosphere during processes associated with volcanism. The potassium-argon dating method has been used to measure a wide variety of ages.

To obtain the content ratio of isotopes 40 Ar to 40 K in a rock or mineral, the amount of Ar is measured by mass spectrometry of the gases released when a rock sample is volatilized in vacuum. The potassium is quantified by flame photometry or atomic absorption spectroscopy.

The amount of 40 K is rarely measured directly. The amount of 40 Ar is also measured to assess how much of the total argon is atmospheric in origin.

Both flame photometry and mass spectrometry are destructive tests, so particular care is needed to ensure that the aliquots used are truly representative of the sample.

Ar-Ar dating is a similar technique which compares isotopic ratios from the same portion of the sample to avoid this problem. Due to the long half-life of 40 Kthe technique is most applicable for dating minerals and rocks more thanyears old.

### K-Ar (Ar-Ar) dating

For shorter timescales, it is unlikely that enough 40 Ar will have had time to accumulate in order to be accurately measurable. K-Ar dating was instrumental in the development of the geomagnetic polarity time scale. One archeological application has been in bracketing the age of archeological deposits at Olduvai Gorge by dating lava flows above and below the deposits.

Inthe K-Ar method was used by the Mars Curiosity rover to date a rock on the Martian surface, the first time a rock has been dated from its mineral ingredients while situated on another planet. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Radiometric dating method. Further information: Isotopes of potassium. National Nuclear Data Center.

December Retrieved 29 December Bibcode : NatCo Categories : Radiometric dating. Hidden categories: Articles with short description Use dmy dates from May Namespaces Article Talk.

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This is possible in potassium-argon K-Ar dating, for example, because most minerals do not take argon into their structures initially Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. This is possible in potassium-argon K-Ar dating, for example, because most minerals do not take argon into their structures initially.

In rubidium-strontium dating, micas exclude strontium when they form but accept much rubidium. In uranium-lead U-Pb dating of zircon, the zircon is found to exclude initial lead. The radioactive decay scheme involving the breakdown of potassium of mass 40 40 K to argon gas of mass 40 40 Ar formed the basis of the first widely used isotopic dating method.

Since radiogenic argon was first detected in by the American geophysicist.

Potassium-argon dating, method of determining the time of origin of rocks by measuring the ratio of radioactive argon to radioactive potassium in the rock. This dating method is based upon the decay of radioactive potassium to radioactive argon in minerals and rocks; potassium also decays to calcium Thus, the ratio of argon and potassium and radiogenic calcium to. Even though the decay of 40 K is somewhat complex with the decay to 40 Ca and three pathways to 40 Ar, Dalrymple and Lanphere point out that potassium-argon dating was being used to address significant geological problems by the mid 's. The energy-level diagram below is based on data accumulated by McDougall and Harrison. For a radioactive decay which produces a single final product, the. Potassium-Argon Dating Potassium-Argon dating is the only viable technique for dating very old archaeological materials. Geologists have used this method to date rocks as much as 4 billion years old. It is based on the fact that some of the radioactive isotope of Potassium, Potassium (K),decays to the gas Argon as Argon (Ar).

Potassium-argon dating has made it possible to establish that the earliest remains of man and his artifacts in East Africa go back at least 2, years, and probably further. History at your fingertips.

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The potassium-argon (K-Ar) isotopic dating method is especially useful for determining the age of lavas. Developed in the s, it was important in developing the theory of plate tectonics and in calibrating the geologic time scale. THE K-AR AND AR-AR DATING METHODS Introduction Both K-Ar and Ar-Ar dating techniques are based upon the decay of a naturally occurring isotope of potassium, 40K to an isotope of argon, 40Ar (Fig. 1). The decay of 40K is by a branching process; of 40K decays to .