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Argon argon dating definition

argon argon dating definition-40

The trick is to irradiate the sample with neutrons along with samples of known age.

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But since floods jumble materials of different origins and ages together, that meant the scientists had to date dozens of different minerals.Argon-36 in the sample accounts for any air contamination.Argon-argon dating, ideally assumes that: OK I think I see!To account for any 40Ar already present (not from 40K decay) you also measure 36Ar and assume a 36Ar/40Ar ratio. The potassium-argon (K-Ar) isotopic dating method is especially useful for determining the age of lavas.What simplifies things is that potassium is a reactive metal and argon is an inert gas: Potassium is always tightly locked up in minerals whereas argon is not part of any minerals. So assuming that no air gets into a mineral grain when it first forms, it has zero argon content.

That is, a fresh mineral grain has its K-Ar "clock" set at zero.

Any alteration or fracturing means that the potassium or the argon or both have been disturbed.

The site also must be geologically meaningful, clearly related to fossil-bearing rocks or other features that need a good date to join the big story.

But then, different passages in the Wikipedia article contradict each other (first section: 39-K is converted into 39-Ar by neutron bombardment; but "age equation" section: 40-K is bombarded; I think it should be 39-Ar).

There's a more basic explanation here:…

Developed in the 1950s, it was important in developing the theory of plate tectonics and in calibrating the geologic time scale.