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## Potassium-Argon/Argon-Argon Dating Methods . SpringerLink

Most people envision radiometric dating by analogy to sand grains in an hourglass: the grains fall at a known rate, so that the ratio of grains between top and bottom is always proportional to the time elapsed. In principle, the potassium-argon K-Ar decay system is no different. Of the naturally occurring isotopes of potassium, 40K is radioactive and decays into 40Ar at a precisely known rate, so that the ratio of 40K to 40Ar in minerals is always proportional to the time elapsed since the mineral formed [ Note: 40K is a potassium atom with an atomic mass of 40 units; 40Ar is an argon atom with an atomic mass of 40 units]. In theory, therefore, we can estimate the age of the mineral simply by measuring the relative abundances of each isotope. Over the past 60 years, potassium-argon dating has been extremely successful, particularly in dating the ocean floor and volcanic eruptions.

If during K-Ar analyses these detrital grains are not recognized and eliminated then they can cause the measured ages to be systematically too old. This grain-discrete method now permits precise and accurate ages to be measured on single grains and, thus, contaminating grains can be eliminated. Unable to display preview.

During the latter half of this century anthropological surveys in East Africa have made significant contributions to understanding how the human species has. The K-Ar dating method utilizes the decay of the naturally-occurring radioactive isotope of potassium, 40K, into an isotope of the noble gas, argon (i.e., 40Ar). Request PDF on ResearchGate | Argon–Argon Dating | Argon–argon dating is a radioisotopic method based on the natural, spontaneous radioactive decay of.

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Advertisement Hide. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Aldrich, L. Physical Renew. Google Scholar. Aronson, J. Nature — In Leakey, R. Asfaw, B. Baksi, A. Science — Berger, G. Earth Planetary Science Letters 9: 39— Bevington, P. Brereton, N. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 8: — Brock, A.

# What is argon argon dating

Earth and Planetary Science Letters — Brown, F. In Delson, E. New York, Alan R. Liss: 82— Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astromomical Society — Ceding, T. Chen, Y. Cooke, H. Curtis, G. In Shaeffer, O. New York, Springer-Verlag: — Dalrymple, G.

Stanford, Stanford University Press. Geophyscial Research Letters — San Francisco, W. Deino, A. ICOG-8 Abstract. Circular Berkeley, U. Geological Survey:.

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. The K-Ar dating technique was one of the earliest isotope dating techniques, . argon are measured by mass spectrometry for K-Ar dating (36Ar, 38Ar and 40Ar) . Argon–argon dating is a radiometric dating method invented to supersede potassium-argon (K/Ar) dating in accuracy. The older method required splitting.

Drake, R. Evernden, J. Current Anthropology. Quaternaria 5: — Faure, G. Feibel, C. American Journal of Physical Anthropology — Quite simply, they devised a way to turn potassium into argon!

Using a nuclear reactor, the mineral sample is bombarded with neutrons, which interact with a particular isotope of potassium 39Kessentially by knocking a single proton out of the nucleus and replacing it with a neutron. After converting all 39K to 39Ar, geochronologists can effectively measure the isotopic ratio between potassium and argon simultaneously on the same instrument.

## Potassium-argon dating

What about the other two assumptions behind the K-Ar method? Isochron methods work by measuring a third, stable isotope in addition to the pair that gauges radioactive decay in this case, 36Ar alongside 39Ar and 40Ar. Having this third isotope allows us to measure directly and not simply assume how much argon was in the mineral at the moment that it crystallized.

By way of analogy, imagine that you were to stumble onto a foot race already in progress. Could you find the position of the starting line if it were not marked? In an Ar-Ar isochron, geochronologists essentially measure all three isotopes in different parts of the same mineral and then plot the points Fig. The resulting best-fit line indicates the amount of initial argon. If that amount is significantly higher than the atmospheric ratio of Note that the best-fit line intercepts the Y-axis at 0.

Since this value is within uncertainty of the atmospheric ratio As mentioned, argon is a noble gas, which does not form chemical bonds with the mineral itself. In this sense, argon is much like dust particles trapped inside of a rug.

So long as the rug is held still, its fibers will hold the dust in place, but when energy is added e. To measure argon isotopes in a mineral, therefore, we simply add energy to the mineral in the form of heat.

Potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating - Cosmology & Astronomy - Khan AcademyThis heat exhibits itself as vibrational energy at the molecular level, which causes the argon to be loosed from the mineral structure, so that it can be analyzed as a free gas. Geochronologists are quite clever, though, in that they heat the mineral in steps.

But why do this? Stepwise heating allows geochronologists to determine how evenly the isotopes of argon are distributed throughout the mineral. If each step yields the same radiometric date, then the isotopes were perfectly and homogenously distributed.

As noted in the comments the wikipedia articles (at the time this question was submitted) are contradictory. There are quite a few steps to the. The isotopes the KAr system relies on are Potassium (K) and Argon (Ar). Potassium, an alkali General assumptions for the Potassium-Argon dating system. What is the advantage of using Argon-Argon (39Ar/40Ar) dating over the conventional Potassium-Argon (K-Ar) method? How does it work, and.

Not only would this result in a very precise age of the mineral, it would also demonstrate that the mineral never underwent significant argon loss—the second assumption that limits the accuracy of K-Ar dating.

As a result, gently tapping the rug would not yield any dust. Similarly, if a mineral were exposed to natural heat sources at some point in its history, the energy would cause all loosely attached argon to escape from the mineral. Consequently, the first step of Ar-Ar analysis would yield an age that was too youngbecause it would appear as though very little argon had been produced by radioactive decay.

On the other hand, imagine that your rug contained pockets of concentrated dust. Similarly, minerals often contain tiny inclusions of other minerals within their structure too small to be noticed without high-powered microscopes. Most inclusions will contain far more argon than the surrounding mineral, meaning that during stepwise heating, that argon will suddenly be released. The amount of 39 Ar K produced in any given irradiation will be dependant on the amount of 39 K present initially, the length of the irradiation, the neutron flux density and the neutron capture cross section for 39 K.

However, because each of these parameters is difficult to determine independantly, a mineral standard, or monitor, of known age is irradiated with the samples of unknown age. The monitor flux can then be extrapolated to the samples, thereby determining their flux. This flux is known as the 'J' and can be determined by the following equation:. In addition to 39 Ar production from 39 K, several other 'interference' reactions occur during irradiation of the samples.

Other isotopes of argon are produced from potassium, calcium, argon and chlorine.

As the table above illustrates, several "undesirable" reactions occur on isotopes present within every geologic sample. These reactor produced isotopes of argon must be corrected for in order to determine an accurate age.

The monitoring of the interfering reactions is performed through the use of laboratory salts and glasses. For example, to determine the amount of reactor produced 40 Ar from 40 K, potassium-rich glass is irradiated with the samples.

The desirable production of 38 Ar from 37Cl allows us to determine how much chlorine is present in our samples. Multiple argon extractions can be performed on a sample in several ways. Step-heating is the most common way and involves either a furnace or a laser to uniformily heat the sample to evolve argon. The individual ages from each heating step are then graphically plotted on an age spectrum or an isochron.

Mechanical crushing is also a technique capable of releasing argon from a single sample in multiple steps. Laser probes also allow multiple ages to be determined on a single sample aliquot, but do so using accurate and precise spatial control.

For example, laser spot sizes of microns or less allow a user to extract multiple argon samples from across a small mica or feldspar grain. The results from a laser probe can be plotted in several graphical ways, including a map of a grain showing lateral argon distribution.