Argon – Ar

Go Back Argon-Argon Dating and the Chicxulub Impact In the early s there was an intense controversy about the association of the Chicxulub Crater of the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula with the extinction of the dinosaurs in the period about 65 million years ago. The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the geological age scale was associated with an iridium-rich layer which suggested that the layer was caused by an impact with an extraterrestrial object. Because that time period, commonly referred to as the K-T boundary, was associated with the extinction of vast numbers of animals in the fossil record, much effort was devoted to dating it with potassium-argon and other methods of geochronology. The time of 65 million years was associated with the K-T boundary from these studies. Other large impact craters such as the Manson crater in Iowa dated to 74 My were examined carefully as candidates for the cause of the extinction, but none were close to the critical time. Chicxulub was not so obvious as a candidate because much of the evidence for it was under the sea. More attention was directed to the Yucatan location after published work by Alan Hildebrand in demonstrated the chemical similarity of Chicxulub core samples with material found distributed in the K-T boundary layer. Carl Swisher organized a team to produce three independent measurements of the age of intact glass beads from the C-1 core drill site in the Chicxulub impact area. The measurements were done by the argon-argon method.

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NORM results from activities such as burning coal, making and using fertilisers, oil and gas production. Uranium mining exposes those involved to NORM in the uranium orebody. Radon in homes is one occurrence of NORM which may give rise to concern and action to control it, by ventilation. All minerals and raw materials contain radionuclides of natural origin. The most important for the purposes of radiation protection are the radionuclides in the U and Th decay series.

For most human activities involving minerals and raw materials, the levels of exposure to these radionuclides are not significantly greater than normal background levels and are not of concern for radiation protection.

Potassium decays with a half-life of million years, meaning that half of the 40 K atoms are gone after that span of time. Its decay yields argon and calcium in a ratio of 11 to The K-Ar method works by counting these radiogenic 40 Ar atoms trapped inside minerals.

Carbon , Radiometric Dating and Index Fossils Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50, years old. This technique is widely used on recent artifacts, but educators and students alike should note that this technique will not work on older fossils like those of the dinosaurs alleged to be millions of years old. This technique is not restricted to bones; it can also be used on cloth, wood and plant fibers.

Carbon dating has been used successfully on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Minoan ruins and tombs of the pharaohs among other things. Carbon is a radioactive isotope of carbon. The half-life of carbon is approximately 5, years. The short half-life of carbon means it cannot be used to date fossils that are allegedly extremely old, e. The question should be whether or not carbon can be used to date any artifacts at all?

“Polonium Haloes” Refuted

It consists mostly of two isotopes with masses 39 and 41, but a third isotope, of mass 40, is weakly radioactive. One of the products of its decay is argon, an inert gas that makes up about 1 percent of the atmosphere. The potassium of mass 40 has a half-life of 1. It is a constituent of many minerals in the most common rocks, both igneous and sedimentary. Required conditions for the potassium-argon clock to work are the same as explained above: The potassium must be free of argon when the clock is started, that is, when the mineral is formed.

The use of various radioisotopes allows the dating of biological and geological samples with a high degree of accuracy. However, radioisotope dating may not work so well in the future. Anything that dies after the s, when Nuclear bombs, nuclear reactors and open-air nuclear tests started changing things, will be harder to date precisely.

Dating refers to the archaeological tool to date artefacts and sites, and to properly construct history. All methods can be classified into two basic categories: Based on a discipline of geology called stratigraphy, rock layers are used to decipher the sequence of historical geological events. Relative techniques can determine the sequence of events but not the precise date of an event, making these methods unreliable. These methods are based on calculating the date of artefacts in a more precise way using different attributes of materials.

This method includes carbon dating and thermoluminescence.

Dating methods in Archaeology. Are they accurate?

Problem solving using the half-life of a radioisotope or radioactive emission data to work out the half-life of a radioactive isotope. What is the half-life of radioactive isotopes? What is a radionuclide decay curve? How long are radioactive materials dangerous for? Are half-lives of radioisotopes useful? How do archaeologists use half-lives to date prehistoric materials?

This dating method is based upon the decay of radioactive potassium to radioactive argon in minerals and rocks; potassium also decays to calcium Thus, the ratio of argon and potassium and radiogenic calcium to potassium in a mineral or rock is a measure of the age of the sample.

A curiosity of Nature and a very long lived beta emitter Argon 40, a gas held prisoner by lava The potassium-argon method is frequently used to date lava flows whose age is between a million and a billion years. When an atom of potassium 40 decays into argon 40, the argon atom produced is trapped by the crystalline structure of the lava. It can only escape when the rock is in its molten state, and so the amount of fossilized argon present in lava allows scientists to date the age of the solidification.

DR Potassium 40 is a radioisotope that can be found in trace amounts in natural potassium, is at the origin of more than half of the human body activity: Along with uranium and thorium, potassium contributes to the natural radioactivity of rocks and hence to the Earth heat. This isotope makes up one ten thousandth of the potassium found naturally. In terms of atomic weight, it is located between two more stable and far more abundant isotopes potassium 39 and potassium 41 that make up With a half-life of 1, billion years, potassium 40 existed in the remnants of dead stars whose agglomeration has led to the Solar System with its planets.

The two decay channels of potassium 40 The decay scheme of potassium is unusual. The mass energy of atom is above these of its two neighbours in the family of atoms with 40 nucleons in their nucleus: Argon with one proton less and calcium with one proton more. Potassium has two decay channel open.

Lesson 15: Half-life part 2

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One of the most widely used dating methods is the potassium-argon method, which has been applied to ‘dating’ rocks for decades, especially igneous rocks that have solidified from molten magma. The attraction of the method lies in the fact that one of the daughter elements is argon which is an inert gas.

Outlook Other Abstract U-Pb radioisotope dating is now the absolute dating method of first choice among geochronologists, especially using the mineral zircon. A variety of analytical instruments have also now been developed using different micro-sampling techniques coupled with mass spectrometers, thus enabling wide usage of U-Pb radioisotope dating. However, problems remain in the interpretation of the measured Pb isotopic ratios to transform them into ages.

Among them is the presence of non-radiogenic Pb of unknown composition, often referred to as common or initial Pb. There is also primordial Pb that the earth acquired when it formed, its isotopic composition determined as that of troilite in the Canyon Diablo iron meteorite. Subsequently new crustal rocks formed via partial melts from the mantle.

So the Pb isotope ratios measured in these rocks today must be interpreted before their U-Pb ages can be calculated. Various methods have been devised to determine this initial or common Pb, but all involve making unprovable assumptions. Zircon does incorporate initial Pb when it crystallizes. The amount of Pb cannot be measured independently and accurately. It cannot be demonstrated that the initial Pb only consisted of Pb atoms.

It cannot be proven that the Pb in apparently cogenetic U- or Th-free minerals is only initial Pb, and that it is identical to the initial Pb in the mineral being dated. Nevertheless, the ultimate foundation of this U-Pb dating methodology is the assumption that the earth formed from the solar nebula. However, from a biblical perspective the earth was created by God on Day 1 of the Creation Week before the sun and the rest of the solar system were created on Day 4, all only about or so years ago.

Potassium-argon dating

Gentry by [Last Updated: It can be an especially difficult challenge when the Creationist author has professional credentials and has published in mainstream scientific journals. One such individual is Robert Gentry, who holds a Master’s degree in Physics and an honorary doctorate from the fundamentalist Columbia Union College. For over thirteen years he held a research associate’s position at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where he was part of a team which investigated ways to immobilize nuclear waste.

Gentry has spent most of his professional life studying the nature of very small discoloration features in mica and other minerals, and concluded that they are proof of a young Earth. About the Rocks Geologists classify rocks into three main categories – sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic – based on the way in which they form.

Potassium on the other hand has a half like of billion years and is common in rocks and minerals. This makes it ideal for dating much older rocks and fossils. RELATED CONTENT.

How accurate are carbon-dating methods? All methods of radioactive dating rely on three assumptions that may not necessarily be true: Rate of Decay It is assumed that the rate of decay has remained constant over time. This assumption is backed by numerous scientific studies and is relatively sound. However, conditions may have been different in the past and could have influenced the rate of decay or formation of radioactive elements.

Evolutionists assume that the rate of cosmic bombardment of the atmosphere has always remained constant and that the rate of decay has remained constant. Thus radioactive dating relies purely on assumptions. We could put forward the following counter arguments to the constancy of these assumptions: The current high rate of entry might be a consequence of a disturbed post-Flood environment that altered the carbon to carbon ratio. Pre-Flood dates would thus have to be discarded.

Some scientists argue that the magnetic field of the earth has declined over time. Carbon comes from nitrogen and is independent of the carbon reservoir. If even a small percentage of the limestone deposits were still in the form of living marine organisms at the time of the Flood, then the small amount of carbon would have mixed with a much larger carbon reservoir, thus resulting in a drastically reduced ratio.


Archeological research, as generally practiced, shares with the rest of anthropology and the other social sciences a concern for the recurrent, patterned aspects of human behavior rather than with the isolation of the unique. It is historical in the sense that it deals with human behavior viewed through time and supplements written sources with the documentation provided by artifactual evidence from the past. During the century or so of its existence as a recognizable scholarly discipline, archeology has come more and more to apply scientific procedures to the collection and analysis of its data, even when its subject matter could be considered humanistic as well as scientific.

Archeology can also be properly regarded as a set of specialized techniques for obtaining cultural data from the past, data that may be used by anthropologists, historians, art critics, economists, or any others interested in man and his activities. This view has the advantage of eliminating the argument whether archeology is anthropology or history and allows for recognition of the varied, sometimes incompatible, purposes for which archeological data and conclusions are used.

Potassium 40 is a radioisotope that can be found in trace amounts in natural potassium, is at the origin of more than half of the human body activity: undergoing between 4 .

This age is obtained from radiometric dating and is assumed by evolutionists to provide a sufficiently long time-frame for Darwinian evolution. And OE Christians theistic evolutionists see no problem with this dating whilst still accepting biblical creation, see Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective. This is the crucial point: Some claim Genesis in particular, and the Bible in general looks mythical from this standpoint.

A full discussion of the topic must therefore include the current scientific challenge to the OE concept. This challenge is mainly headed by Creationism which teaches a young-earth YE theory. A young earth is considered to be typically just 6, years old since this fits the creation account and some dating deductions from Genesis.

The crucial point here is: Accepted Dating Methods Here we outline some dating methods , both absolute and relative, that are widely accepted and used by the scientific community. Absolute dating supplies a numerical date whilst relative dating places events in time-sequence; both are scientifically useful. Radiometric Dating This is based upon the spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei. Radioactive parent P atoms decay to stable daughter D atoms e.

The time required for half the original number of parent atoms to decay is called the half life. Some half-lives are listed below:

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