What is the half life of potassium argon dating


02-Oct-2020 10:45

The isotope potassium-39 makes up about 93% of natural potassium.Potassium-40 is radioactive but has such a long half-life that it is primordial - it has been around since the earth was being formed. About 10.7% decays to Argon-40 by emitting a positron.The potassium-argon dating method has been used to measure a wide variety of ages.The potassium-argon age of some meteorites is as old as 4,500,000,000 years, and volcanic rocks as young as 20,000 years old have been measured by this method.But since floods jumble materials of different origins and ages together, that meant the scientists had to date dozens of different minerals.The youngest crystal in the footprint layer would represent the oldest possible age for the prints; the oldest crystal in the layer above it would represent the youngest they could be.A problem is that it takes two separate measurements to get the potassium concentration and the argon isotope ratios, increasing the uncertainty.Argon-argon dating gets around many of the issues by measuring only multiple isotopes of argon.

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So this is a situation where one of the neutrons turns into a proton. By the time it has hardened into volcanic rock all of the argon-40 will be gone. And so what's neat is, this volcanic event, the fact that this rock has become liquid, it kind of resets the amount of argon-40 there. So if you fast forward to some future date, and you see that there is some argon-40 there, in that sample, you know this is a volcanic rock.

And we know if an atom has 19 protons it is going to be potassium.



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