Potassium-Argon Dating Potassium-Argon dating is the only viable technique for dating very old archaeological materials. Geologists have used this method to date rocks as much as 4 billion years old. It is based on the fact that some of the radioactive isotope of Potassium, Potassium K ,decays to the gas Argon as Argon Ar By comparing the proportion of K to Ar in a sample of volcanic rock, and knowing the decay rate of K, the date that the rock formed can be determined. How Does the Reaction Work? Potassium K is one of the most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust 2. One out of every 10, Potassium atoms is radioactive Potassium K
Potassium, an alkali metal, the Earth’s eighth most abundant element is common in many rocks and rock-forming minerals. The quantity of potassium in a rock or mineral is variable proportional to the amount of silica present. Therefore, mafic rocks and minerals often contain less potassium than an equal amount of silicic rock or mineral.
Potassium can be mobilized into or out of a rock or mineral through alteration processes.
Potassium-Argon (K-Ar) age dates were determined for forty-two young geologic The two unreliable samples had potassium concentrated in the glassy matrix.
Some updates to this article are now available. The sections on the branching ratio and dating meteorites need updating. Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium. On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.
We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous. This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points.
Since there doesn’t seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate. However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old.
If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question. After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found.
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You’ve got two decay products, lead and helium, and they’re giving two different ages for the zircon. For this reason, ICR research has long focused on the science behind these dating techniques. These observations give us confidence that radiometric dating is not trustworthy. Research has even identified precisely where radioisotope dating went wrong.
Ar–Ar dating; Argon–argon dating; K–Ar dating K–Ar geochronology. A geochronometer (geologic dating method) used to date potassium-bearing rocks, In order to provide reliable ages, samples for 40Ar/39Ar analysis.
Radiometric dating is a technique used to date materials based on a knowledge of the decay rates of naturally occurring isotopes , and the current abundances. It is our principal source of information about the age of the Earth and a significant source of information about rates of evolutionary change. All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements , each with its own atomic number , indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus.
Additionally, elements may exist in different isotopes , with each isotope of an element differing only in the number of neutrons in the nucleus. A particular isotope of a particular element is called a nuclide. Some nuclides are inherently unstable.
The Dynamics of Dating
Other dating techniques, like K-Ar (potassium-argon and its more recent variant Usually determinations of age are repeated to avoid laboratory errors, are.
Roger C. Wiens has a PhD in Physics, with a minor in Geology. His PhD thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating. First edition ; revised version Radiometric dating–the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements–has been in widespread use for over half a century. There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them.
It has become increasingly clear that these radiometric dating techniques agree with each other and as a whole, present a coherent picture in which the Earth was created a very long time ago. Further evidence comes from the complete agreement between radiometric dates and other dating methods such as counting tree rings or glacier ice core layers. Many Christians have been led to distrust radiometric dating and are completely unaware of the great number of laboratory measurements that have shown these methods to be consistent.
Many are also unaware that Bible-believing Christians are among those actively involved in radiometric dating. This paper describes in relatively simple terms how a number of the dating techniques work, how accurately the half-lives of the radioactive elements and the rock dates themselves are known, and how dates are checked with one another. In the process the paper refutes a number of misconceptions prevalent among Christians today.
This paper is available on the web via the American Scientific Affiliation and related sites to promote greater understanding and wisdom on this issue, particularly within the Christian community. Doubters Still Try Apparent Age?
Is Potassium Argon Dating Reliable
Some of the common mistakes we make in evaluating claims are resisting contrary evidence, looking for confirming evidence, and preferring available evidence. To counteract these tendencies, we need to take deliberate steps to examine critically even our most cherished claims, search for disconfirming evidence as well as confirming, and look beyond evidence that is merely the most striking or memorable.
The simplest interpretation of such a variable 40Ar/39Ar ratio is the direct implication that the age based on total potassium and total argon is unreliable.
K—Ar geochronology. A geochronometer geologic dating method used to date potassium-bearing rocks, based on the decay of parent isotope 40 K to daughter isotope 40 Ar. A variant of the K—Ar geochronometer, where 39 Ar is measured as a proxy for the parent isotope 40 K. After some early indications that a radioactive isotope of potassium of mass 40 might exist for details see McDougall and Harrison, , and references therein , it was definitively identified by Nier It was not until later that rocks enriched in 40 Ar were identified and the Skip to main content Skip to table of contents.
19.4 Isotopic Dating Methods
Potassium—argon dating , abbreviated K—Ar dating , is a radiometric dating method used in geochronology and archaeology. It 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 evaporites. In these materials, the decay product 40 Ar is able to escape the liquid molten rock, but starts to accumulate when the rock solidifies recrystallizes.
The amount of argon sublimation that occurs is a function of the purity of the sample, the composition of the mother material, and a number of other factors.
The two reliable samples had potassium concentrated in fine-grained interstitial potassium in two samples considered unreliable for whole-rock K-Ar dating.
Radiometric dating of rocks and minerals using naturally occurring, long-lived radioactive isotopes is troublesome for young-earth creationists because the techniques have provided overwhelming evidence of the antiquity of the earth and life. Some so-called creation scientists have attempted to show that radiometric dating does not work on theoretical grounds for example, Arndts and Overn ; Gill but such attempts invariably have fatal flaws see Dalrymple ; York and Dalrymple Other creationists have focused on instances in which radiometric dating seems to yield incorrect results.
In most instances, these efforts are flawed because the authors have misunderstood or misrepresented the data they attempt to analyze for example, Woodmorappe ; Morris HM ; Morris JD Only rarely does a creationist actually find an incorrect radiometric result Austin ; Rugg and Austin that has not already been revealed and discussed in the scientific literature. The creationist approach of focusing on examples where radiometric dating yields incorrect results is a curious one for two reasons.
First, it provides no evidence whatsoever to support their claim that the earth is very young. If the earth were only —10 years old, then surely there should be some scientific evidence to confirm that hypothesis; yet the creationists have produced not a shred of it so far. Where are the data and age calculations that result in a consistent set of ages for all rocks on earth, as well as those from the moon and the meteorites, no greater than 10 years?
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conventional K–Ar dating method, total K is measured Potassium-argon dating in the Pleistocene: in: Rutter unreliable because of detrital Th contamination.
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. It was only in the early part of the 20th century, when isotopic dating methods were first applied, that it became possible to discover the absolute ages of the rocks containing fossils. In most cases, we cannot use isotopic techniques to directly date fossils or the sedimentary rocks in which they are found, but we can constrain their ages by dating igneous rocks that cut across sedimentary rocks, or volcanic ash layers that lie within sedimentary layers.
Isotopic dating of rocks, or the minerals within them, is based upon the fact that we know the decay rates of certain unstable isotopes of elements, and that these decay rates have been constant throughout geological time. It is also based on the premise that when the atoms of an element decay within a mineral or a rock, they remain trapped in the mineral or rock, and do not escape. It has a half-life of 1.
In order to use the K-Ar dating technique, we need to have an igneous or metamorphic rock that includes a potassium-bearing mineral. One good example is granite, which contains the mineral potassium feldspar Figure Potassium feldspar does not contain any argon when it forms. Over time, the 40 K in the feldspar decays to 40 Ar. The atoms of 40 Ar remain embedded within the crystal, unless the rock is subjected to high temperatures after it forms.
The sample must be analyzed using a very sensitive mass-spectrometer, which can detect the differences between the masses of atoms, and can therefore distinguish between 40 K and the much more abundant 39 K. The minerals biotite and hornblende are also commonly used for K-Ar dating. There are many isotope pairs that can be employed in dating igneous and metamorphic rocks see Table
How Accurate is K-Ar Dating? Email: laurence unmaskingevolution. Webpage: www. Messel, “A Modern Introduction to Physics” vol.
potassium-argon ages and conclude that available data to which we attach significance are reliable in the geological and anthropological senses;. 3. Bed I and.
Radioactive dating methods—many of which are quite elaborate—have numerous physical condition requirements that cannot realistically remain unaffected over millions and perhaps billions of years. Since the potassium-argon dating methods clearly appear to be unreliable, why should any rational person trust them to provide accurate dates for rocks? In the early s, scientists established theories for using the decay of radioactive potassium 40 K to argon 40 Ar as a clock for dating certain types of rocks.
The second-most prominent decay mode is through electron capture by one of its protons, which converts it to an excited state of the noble gas 40 Ar that then decays to the 40 Ar ground state by emitting a 1. Finally, a positron decay mode to the ground state of 40 Ar has been observed in approximately 0. Figure 1 schematically illustrates these three processes. Potassium K , along with lithium Li , sodium Na , rubidium Rb , and caesium Cs , is an alkali metal that reacts violently with water, air, and the halogen elements fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine.
It is so chemically reactive that it must be stored under oxygen-free liquid paraffin to prevent oxidation. Thus, it can move somewhat freely in most rock matrices.
Kevin R. For example, Woodmorappe , p. These ages are most likely too old, owing to the inclusion of detrital grains in the mineral separates. Yet, how anomalously old are Evernden et al. We find the answer in the proceeding sentences, which Woodmorappe , p.
Potassium–argon dating, abbreviated K–Ar dating, is a radiometric dating method used in Reliability in the dating of a geological feature is increased by sampling disparate areas which have been subjected to slightly different thermal.
Science in Christian Perspective. Radiometric Dating. A Christian Perspective. Roger C. Wiens has a PhD in Physics, with a minor in Geology. His PhD thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.