K ar dating method michael steger dating
An example is shown in Figure 8.16; radiocarbon dates from wood fragments in glacial sediments have been used to estimate the time of the last glacial advance along the Strait of Georgia. Figure 8.16 Radiocarbon dates on wood fragments in glacial sediments in the Strait of Georgia [SE after Clague, J, 1976, Quadra Sand and its relation to late Wisconsin glaciation of southeast British Columbia, Can. The red-blue bars represent 40K and the green-yellow bars represent 40Ar.[SE] In order to use the K-Ar dating technique, we need to have an igneous or metamorphic rock that includes a potassium-bearing mineral.
Each half-life is 1.3 billion years, so after 3.9 billion years (three half-lives) 12.5% of the original 40K will remain.
(However, see the section below on the limitations of the method.) This suggests an obvious method of dating igneous rocks.
If we are right in thinking that there was no argon in the rock originally, then all the argon in it now must have been produced by the decay of Ar in them will be so small that it is below the ability of our instruments to measure, and a rock formed yesterday will look no different from a rock formed fifty thousand years ago.
Another concern with K-Ar dating is that it relies on there being no Ar in the rock when it was originally formed, or added to it between its formation and our application of the K-Ar method.
Because argon is inert, it cannot be chemically incorporated in the minerals when they are formed, but it can be physically trapped in the rocks either during or after formation. If the source of this argon is atmospheric contamination, then we can correct for this.
Originally fossils only provided us with relative ages because, although early paleontologists understood biological succession, they did not know the absolute ages of the different organisms.