What is argon dating

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The monitor flux can then be extrapolated to the samples, thereby determining their flux.This flux is known as the 'J' and can be determined by the following equation: As the table above illustrates, several "undesirable" reactions occur on isotopes present within every geologic sample.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.Therefore, unlike the conventional K/Ar technique, absolute abundances need not be measured.

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The standards of known age are used to account for differences in the neutron flux during irradiation.Because of this, we can assume that the potassium-40:potassium-39 ratio in minerals at any time is a constant. If the argon-40 stays trapped in the crystal and you can measure the ratio of potassium-40 to argon-40, then you know how long it has been since the mineral formed.This also assumes that there is no other source of argon like trapped air.Argon loss and excess argon are two common problems that may cause erroneous ages to be determined.Argon loss occurs when radiogenic K by a fast neutron reaction) can be used as a proxy for potassium.

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