The Potassium Argon Reaction Ar 40 is used for several reasons. First of all, Argon is inert. It does not chemically react with other elements at all. So Argon does not attach itself to the rock or any minerals in the rock. Secondly, Argon is usually a gas. These features are thought to allow any naturally occurring Argon from contaminating our measurements of the Argon 40 that is being produced from the radioactive decay of K When volcanic material flows over the land, the naturally occurring Argon gas is driven off by the excess heat. When the rock is molten hot, it is more liquid in texture, allowing the Argon gas to escape. If all the gas is driven off, then there should be no Argon left in the rock. Once the rock cools and hardens, it is considered to be a closed system, because any new Ar 40 that is produced by the breakdown of K40 is trapped inside the rock crystal and cannot get out.

Genesis and Genetics

What did the Authors of the Bible Intend? It is also quite clear that these authors were actually trying to convey a literal historical narrative — not an allegory. They actually believed that what they wrote was literal history. Take, for example, the comments of well-known Oxford Hebrew scholar James Barr: Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer s of Genesis 1—11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that:

Potassium-Argon (K-Ar) and Argon-Argon (40Ar/39Ar): 40K decays to 40Ar with a half-life of nearly billion years; under about kya there isn’t enough 40 Ar to measure (depends who you ask), but the method works from there to the age of the Earth.

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Radiometric dating

Modern methods can detect essentially any Carbon , and therefore produce dates up to about , years. Methods A sample is taken and prepared by removing any extraneous material, and removing any inclusions from the sample. The sample is then crushed and dissolved. The sample is then placed in a mass-spectrometer and a chart is produced showing the quantities of each element or isotope.

That result is compared to decay curves to get a time interval.

Radiocarbon decay can only be used to determine the age of rock which contains fossilized animal or plant cells. Radiocarbon dating can only be used to determine the age of objects that were once.

Introduction The methods used by archaeologists to gather data can be applied to any time period, including the very recent past. One archaeologist in the U. Over the past years archaeologists have developed many effective methods and techniques for studying the past. Archaeologists also rely upon methods from other fields such as history, botany, geology, and soil science. In this section of Methods of Gathering Data you will learn how archaeologists gather and analyze information by utilizing historical research techniques, field methods for data recovery, and laboratory analyses.

Back to top Historical Research Techniques Every archaeology project begins with a research design —a plan that describes why the archaeology is being done, what research questions it hopes to answer, and the methods and techniques that will be used to gather and analyze the artifacts and other archaeological materials. It will also outline where artifacts recovered from the project will be stored, and how the research will be reported and shared with the public. Archival research Archival research is often the first step in archaeology.

This research uncovers the written records associated with the study area. If the area was inhabited during historical times in the past several hundred years in North America the archaeologist will look for primary historical documents associated with the study area. Primary historical documents that archaeologists may consult before beginning their field research include: Open this History Toolkit to learn more about investigating the past with primary sources.


Absolute Time Radioactive decay is the process whereby an unstable parent atomic nucleus is spontaneously transformed into an atomic nucleus of another element. This reduces the atomic number of the parent by 2 and the mass number of the parent by 4. Beta decay – an electron is emitted from a neutron in the nucleus changing the neutron to a proton. This increases the atomic number of the parent element by 1 but does not change the atomic mass number.

However, dating mechanisms have their own set of assumptions that need to be realized. This page, Potassium-Argon Dating I, is dedicated to looking at the assumptions that are made in Potassium-Argon age determinations. The second page, Potassium-Argon Dating II, is dedicated to looking at what questions are needed so that a model can be suggested. Two field examples: the first in the Columbia .

These are K-Ar data obtained on glauconite, a potassium-bearing clay mineral that forms in some marine sediment. Woodmorappe fails to mention, however, that these data were obtained as part of a controlled experiment to test, on samples of known age, the applicability of the K-Ar method to glauconite and to illite, another clay mineral. He also neglects to mention that most of the 89 K-Ar ages reported in their study agree very well with the expected ages.

Evernden and others 43 found that these clay minerals are extremely susceptible to argon loss when heated even slightly, such as occurs when sedimentary rocks are deeply buried. As a result, glauconite is used for dating only with extreme caution. The ages from the Coast Range batholith in Alaska Table 2 are referenced by Woodmorappe to a report by Lanphere and others Whereas Lanphere and his colleagues referred to these two K-Ar ages of and million years, the ages are actually from another report and were obtained from samples collected at two localities in Canada, not Alaska.

There is nothing wrong with these ages; they are consistent with the known geologic relations and represent the crystallization ages of the Canadian samples. The Liberian example Table 2 is from a report by Dalrymple and others These authors studied dikes of basalt that intruded Precambrian crystalline basement rocks and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks in western Liberia.

The dikes cutting the Precambrian basement gave K-Ar ages ranging from to million years Woodmorappe erroneously lists this higher age as million years , whereas those cutting the Mesozoic sedimentary rocks gave K-Ar ages of from to million years. Woodmorappe does not mention that the experiments in this study were designed such that the anomalous results were evident, the cause of the anomalous results was discovered, and the crystallization ages of the Liberian dikes were unambiguously determined.

The Liberian study is, in fact, an excellent example of how geochronologists design experiments so that the results can be checked and verified.

Potassium Argon Dating

Departures from this assumption are quite common, particularly in areas of complex geological history, but such departures can provide useful information that is of value in elucidating thermal histories. A deficiency of 40 Ar in a sample of a known age can indicate a full or partial melt in the thermal history of the area. Reliability in the dating of a geological feature is increased by sampling disparate areas which have been subjected to slightly different thermal histories.

Ar—Ar dating is a similar technique which compares isotopic ratios from the same portion of the sample to avoid this problem.

Nov 16,  · Potassium-argon dating or K-Ar dating is a radiometric dating method used in geochronology and archeology. It is based on measurement of the product of the radioactive decay of an isotope of potassium (K), which is a common element found in many materials, such as micas, clay minerals, tephra, and evaporites, into : Resolved.

The Radiometric Dating Game Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium. On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.

We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous. This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points.

Since there doesn’t seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate. However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old.

If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question. After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found.

Potassium-argon dating

A variety of dating methods are available and, depending on the available information, materials and technology, scientists must decide which method will provide the most accurate results in each case. For archaeology, determining time span and the ages of artifacts or sites is an incredibly important part of archaeology. The two primary categories of archaeological dating are relative and absolute dating. Relative dating is basically the placement of something in a sequence. So, if there are no other means by which to absolutely date materials, it is still possible to work out a sequence of events.

Potassium-argon dating is accurate from billion years (the age of the Earth) to about , years before the present. At , years, only % of the potassium in a rock would have decayed to argon, pushing the limits of present detection devices.

Basic principles Parent and daughter isotopes commonly used to establish ages of rocks. Many atoms or elements exist as numerous varieties called isotopes , some of which are radioactive , meaning they decay over time by losing particles. Radiometric dating is based on the decay rate of these isotopes into stable nonradioactive isotopes. To date an object, scientists measure the quantity of parent and daughter isotope in a sample, and use the atomic decay rate to determine its possible age.

For example, in the U Pb series, U is the parent isotope and the others are daughter isotopes. In order to calculate the age of the rock, geologists follow this procedure: Measure the ratio of isotopes in the rock. Observe the rate of radioactive decay from the mother to the daughter isotope. Calculate the time required for the mother isotope to produce all the observed daughter isotope, according to this formula: The decay constant has dimensions of reciprocal seconds.

In the special case in which parent and daughter atoms are present in equal quantities, the age of the specimen is the half-life of the parent isotope: Known amounts of daughter isotope usually zero at start. No gain or loss of parent or daughter isotopes by any means other than radioactive decay closed system. A constant decay rate.

What Can Potassium Argon Dating Be Used For?