What is potassium argon dating used for

Posted by / 10-Jan-2018 06:39

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The potassium-argon (K-Ar) isotopic dating method is especially useful for determining the age of lavas.

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.

Lava flows that lie above and below rock beds with ancient human fossils are a good—and true—example.

Potassium-Argon Dating Potassium-Argon dating is the only viable technique for dating very old archaeological materials.

These each have 19 protons and 21 neutrons in their nucleus.

Potassium-argon dating is a method for estimating the age of volcanic rocks by measuring the ratio of potassium-40 to argon-40 present.

The method is based on the fact that the potassium-40 isotope of potassium decays over time to form argon-40.

Archaeologists and biologists are also sometimes able to use potassium-argon dating to measure the age of artifacts and fossils, when these have become trapped in or buried under volcanic rock.

The mathematical formula that is used to figure the age of the rock depends on the half-life of potassium-40 (the time it takes for half the potassium-40 in a given sample to decay).

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It is based on measurement of the product of the radioactive decay of an isotope of potassium (K) into argon (Ar).