(K/Ar) Potassium Argon Dating Techniques II

Because it is present within the atmosphere, every rock and mineral will have some quantity of Argon. Argon can mobilized into or out of a rock or mineral through alteration and thermal processes. Like Potassium, Argon cannot be significantly fractionated in nature. However, 40Ar is the decay product of 40K and therefore will increase in quantity over time. The quantity of 40Ar produced in a rock or mineral over time can be determined by substracting the amount known to be contained in the atmosphere. This ratio is The decay scheme is electron capture and positron decay. The material in question is a closed system. In the case of a volcanic mineral, this means rapid cooling.

Radiometric dating

Solid argon at its melting point The violet glow of ionized argon gas in a discharge tube. In practice water vapor is also present. A faint line from argon shows in the spectrum of the doomed star Eta Carinae. Eta Carinae has a mass of more than Earth suns. Discovery of Argon Dr.

To radiometric dating explained establish the age of a rock or a fossil, researchers use some type of clock to determine the date it was radiometric dating methods, based on the natural radioactive decay of certain elements such as potassium and carbon, as reliable clocks to date ancient events.

Are they always accurate? When a new fossil is discovered, geologists assign a date for when they think the plant or animal lived. They normally use radiometric dating methods to date the fossil, and many promote these methods as being accurate. Yet when you look into the technical papers on these discoveries, you find that these dates are often questionable and are sometimes clearly in error.

What are radiometric dating methods? Several types of radiometric dating methods are used today.


Atmospheric nuclear weapon tests almost doubled the concentration of 14C in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a type of radiometric dating. The method uses the radioactive isotope carbon Most organic matter contains carbon. Carbon has different isotopes , which are usually not radioactive. This makes it possible to tell the age of substances that contain carbon.

Glauconite contains potassium, so it can be dated using the potassium-argon technique. How does Carbon dating work? Cosmic rays from the sun strike Nitrogen 14 atoms in the atmosphere and cause them to turn into radioactive Carbon 14, which combines with oxygen to .

See some updates to this article. We now consider in more detail one of the problems with potassium-argon dating, namely, the branching ratio problem. Here is some relevant information that was e-mailed to me. There are some very serious objections to using the potassium-argon decay family as a radiometric clock. The geochronologist considers the Ca40 of little practical use in radiometric dating since common calcium is such an abundant element and the radiogenic Ca40 has the same atomic mass as common calcium.

Here the actual observed branching ratio is not used, but rather a small ratio is arbitrarily chosen in an effort to match dates obtained method with U-Th-Pb dates. The branching ratio that is often used is 0. Thus we have another source of error for K-Ar dating. Back to top Thus there are a number of sources of error. We now consider whether they can explain the observed dates. In general, the dates that are obtained by radiometric methods are in the hundreds of millions of years range.

One can understand this by the fact that the clock did not get reset if one accepts the fact that the magma “looks” old, for whatever reason. That is, we can get both parent and daughter elements from the magma inherited into minerals that crystallize out of lava, making these minerals look old. Since the magma has old radiometric dates, depending on how much the clock gets reset, the crust can end up with a variety of younger dates just by partially inheriting the dates of the magma.


Volume 59 , , Pages The Cassignol technique for potassium—Argon dating, precision and accuracy: We describe here its principles and its technology. The limit of detectability of the radiogenic Ar portion corresponds to an error of less than a for K-rich minerals and a few a for basalts. The reliability of the results and the validity of the correction for atmospheric contamination have been checked by analysing historical lavas and by comparison with data obtained from radiocarbon and thermoluminescence dating methods.

Potassium-Argon dating is similar to the uranium-lead dating method, that I have just explained, this time potassium is in the upper chamber and lead is in the lower chamber of my hourglass analogy.

Sir Humphry Davy in Potassium is the fourth element in the first column of the periodic table. It is classified as an alkali metal. Potassium atoms have 19 electrons and 19 protons with one valence electron in the outer shell. Potassium is considered chemically similar to sodium , the alkali metal above it on the periodic table. Characteristics and Properties Under standard conditions potassium is a soft silvery-white metal. It is so soft that it can be easily cut with a knife.

When cut, the exposed metal tarnishes quickly and forms a dull oxide coating. Potassium has a very low melting point such that even a candle can cause it to melt. When it burns, it produces a pale purple colored flame. Potassium also has a very low density and is the second least dense metal after lithium. It is so light that it can float in water.

Chemically, potassium is a very active metal. It reacts violently when coming into contact with water, producing heat and hydrogen gas. It also reacts with many other elements and substances such as oxygen, acids, sulfur, fluorine, and nitrogen.

Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences

Here are a few quotes. It is true in all the incidental details, but it is all essentially irrelevant. After this point the discussion in the article degenerates even further. Do not even try to learn about beta decay from this man. What he says is completely backwards.

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. Argon makes up 1 percent of the atmosphere. So assuming that no air gets into a mineral grain when it .

Scientific Dates for Prehistoric Times Radioactive clocks tell time in the millions of years, but how accurately do they tell it? This article and the two following ones describe and evaluate the different means of radioactive dating used by geologists to measure the ages of rocks and the remains of once-living organisms. Archaeologists date the hut to about 22, years ago.

The first thing people want to know about a new find is, How old is it? The scientist who talks to reporters is always ready to give an answer, whether it is based on evidence or it is merely a guess. When you read such reports, does the question sometimes cross your mind, How do they know? How certain is it that humans lived in Florida 10, years ago and in Japan 22, years ago, or that mastodons and camels were roaming the California landscape a million years ago?

There are several different scientific methods of dating ancient remains. Some are more reliable than others, but none are as certain as ages based on historical records. When we go back beyond this time, the scientific dates are all we have.

Apologetics Press

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Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50, years. Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his.

The fact that the readership largely consists of unsuspecting laypeople makes this all the more inexcusable. All dating methods related to the unobservable past rely on unverifiable assumptions, chief of which is the one about closed systems. Furthermore, all dating methods involve the subjective evaluation of data and results, so much so, that their veracity must seriously be questioned.

Recent attempts to extend the radiocarbon 14C dating method back in time provide an instructive example of how age determinations are manipulated. National Geographic magazine NG , an American periodical, is well known worldwide for its beautiful photographs and outstanding depictions of nations and cultures. Unfortunately, and especially so in recent years, National Geographic magazine has increasingly deviated from the subject of geography and become a virtual propaganda mouthpiece for evolutionary speculations.

Now even evolutionists have abandoned this creature, now called Paranthropus, as a missing link, but the effect was profound at the time. Later, as an adult and ex-evolutionist, Dr. A recent NG article [ 2 ] has presented the unsuspecting reader with a totally one-sided and uncritical portrayal of the dating methods used by conventional uniformitarian geologists.

Evidently, NG is now being pressed into service as a cheerleader for the dogmas of the old Earth and Universe. To rectify this situation, I briefly outline here some of the many fallacies of isotopic dating [ 3 ] and discuss some recent developments in the field of age determination.

What Is Argon Dating?