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The potassium-argon K-Ar isotopic dating method is especially useful for determining the age of lavas. Developed in the s, it was important in developing the theory of plate tectonics and in calibrating the geologic time scale. Potassium occurs in two stable isotopes 41 K and 39 K and one radioactive isotope 40 K. 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. What simplifies things is that potassium is a reactive metal and argon is an inert gas: Potassium is always tightly locked up in minerals whereas argon is not part of any minerals.

The calcium-potassium age method is seldom used, however, because of the great abundance of nonradiogenic calcium in minerals or rocks, which masks the presence of radiogenic calcium.

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On the other hand, the abundance of argon in the Earth is relatively small because of its escape to the atmosphere during processes associated with volcanism. 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, years, and volcanic rocks as young as 20, years old have been measured by this method.

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Potassium-argon dating. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.

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Thank you for your feedback. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree A lake Bonney seal known to have died only a few weeks before was carbon dated.

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The results stated that the seal had died between and years ago. Antarctic Journal, Washington.

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Shells from living snails were dated using the Carbon 14 method. The results stated that the snails had died 27, years ago.

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But these lava flows happened only about years ago in and MYTH 1. Radiocarbon is used to date the age of rocks, which enables scientists to date the age of the earth. Radiocarbon is not used to date the age of rocks or to determine the age of the earth.

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Other radiometric dating methods such as potassium-argon or rubidium-strontium are used for such purposes by those who believe that the earth is billions of years old. Radiocarbon is not suitable for this purpose because it is only applicable: a on a time scale of thousands of years and b to remains of once-living organisms with minor exceptions, from which rocks are excluded.

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MYTH 2 Radiocarbon dating has established the date of some organic materials e. Some organic materials do give radiocarbon ages in excess of 50, "radiocarbon years.

Oct 04,   A rock sample from the newly formed lava dome from Mount St. Helens was dated using Potassium-Argon dating. The newly formed rock gave ages for the different minerals in it of between and million years. 4 These dates show that significant argon (daughter element) was present when the rock solidified (assumption 1 is false). Jan 31,   Potassium-Argon Basics. Potassium occurs in two stable isotopes (41 K and 39 K) and one radioactive isotope (40 K). 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 . 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. 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.

These two measures of time will only be the same if all of the assumptions which go into the conventional radiocarbon dating technique are valid. Comparison of ancient, historically dated artifacts from Egypt, for example with their radiocarbon dates has revealed that radiocarbon years and calendar years are not the same even for the last 5, calendar years.

Since no reliable historically dated artifacts exist which are older than 5, years, it has not been possible to determine the relationship of radiocarbon years to calendar years for objects which yield dates of tens of thousands of radiocarbon years.

Radiometric Dating Flaws (Potassium-Argon)

Thus, it is possible and, given the Flood, probable that materials which give radiocarbon dates of tens of thousands of radiocarbon years could have true ages of many fewer calendar years. MYTH 3. The shells of live freshwater clams have been radiocarbon dated in excess of years old, clearly showing that the radiocarbon dating technique is not valid.

Potassium-argon dating, abbreviated K-Ar dating, is a radiometric dating method used in geochronology and doursim.com is based on measurement of the product of the radioactive decay of an isotope of potassium (K) into argon (Ar). Potassium is a common element found in many materials, such as micas, clay minerals, tephra, and doursim.com these materials, the decay product Other radiometric dating methods such as potassium-argon or rubidium-strontium are used for such purposes by those who believe that the earth is billions of years old. Radiocarbon is not suitable for this purpose because it is only applicable: a) on a time scale of thousands of years and b) to remains of once-living organisms (with minor. 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.

The shells of live freshwater clams can, and often do, give anomalous radiocarbon results. However, the reason for this is understood and the problem is restricted to only a few special cases, of which freshwater clams are the best-known example. It is not correct to state or imply from this evidence that the radiocarbon dating technique is thus shown to be generally invalid. The problem with freshwater clams arises because these organisms derive the carbon atoms which they use to build their shells from the water in their environment.

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If this water is in contact with significant quantities of limestone, it will contain many carbon atoms from dissolved limestone. Since limestone contains very little, if any, radiocarbon, clam shells will contain less radiocarbon than would have been the case if they had gotten their carbon atoms from the air. This gives the clam shell an artificially old radiocarbon age. This problem, known as the " reservoir effect ," is not of very great practical importance for radiocarbon dating since most of the artifacts which are useful for radiocarbon dating purposes and are of interest to archaeology derive from terrestrial organisms which ultimately obtain their carbon atoms from air, not the water.

MYTH 4. Samples of coal have been found with radiocarbon ages of only 20, radiocarbon years or less, thus proving the recent origin of fossil fuels, probably in the Flood.

Why is potassium argon dating unreliable

I am not aware of any authentic research which supports this claim. Also, it does not coincide with what creationist scientists would currently anticipate based upon our understanding of the impact of the Flood on radiocarbon.

Potassium-argon dating. The potassium-argon method was used to date volcanic material in this next example. "Scientists got dates of million and 3 billion years for two Hawaiian lava flows. But these lava flows happened only about years ago in and One problem with argon-argon dating has been a slight discrepancy with other methods of dating. Work by Kuiper et al. reports that a correction of is needed. Thus the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction (when the dinosaurs died out)-previously dated at or million years ago-is more accurately dated to Ma. Oct 01,   A. A. Snelling, "The Cause of Anomalous Potassium-Argon 'Ages' for Recent Andesite Flows at Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-Argon 'Dating,'" in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Creationism, ed. R. E. Walsh (Pittsburgh: Creation Science Fellowship, ), pp. -

It is not difficult to see how such a claim could arise, however. There are two characteristics of the instrumental measurement of radiocarbon which, if the lay observer is unaware, could easily lead to such an idea.

First, any instrument which is built to measure radiocarbon has a limit beyond which it cannot separate the signal due to radiocarbon in the sample from the signal due to background processes within the measuring apparatus.

Even a hypothetical sample containing absolutely no radiocarbon will register counts in a radiocarbon counter because of background signals within the counter.

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