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This is an informational tour in which students gain a basic understanding of geologic time, the evidence for events in Earth’s history, relative and absolute dating techniques, and the significance of the Geologic Time Scale.

Potassium–argon dating, abbreviated K–Ar dating, is a radiometric dating method used in geochronology and archaeology.

But it can escape into the surrounding region when the right conditions are met, such as change in pressure and/or temperature.

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In these materials, the decay product 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 potassium is quantified by flame photometry or atomic absorption spectroscopy.

The amount of Ar is also measured to assess how much of the total argon is atmospheric in origin. 11) the following assumptions must be true for computed dates to be accepted as representing the true age of the rock: Both flame photometry and mass spectrometry are destructive tests, so particular care is needed to ensure that the aliquots used are truly representative of the sample.

Clay minerals are less than 2 micrometres thick and cannot easily be irradiated for Ar–Ar analysis because Ar recoils from the crystal lattice.

In 2013 the K–Ar method was used by the Mars Curiosity rover to date a rock on the Martian surface, the first time a rock has been dated from its mineral ingredients while situated on another planet.

These factors introduce error limits on the upper and lower bounds of dating, so that final determination of age is reliant on the environmental factors during formation, melting, and exposure to decreased pressure and/or open-air.

Time since recrystallization is calculated by measuring the ratio of the amount of The quickly cooled lavas that make nearly ideal samples for K–Ar dating also preserve a record of the direction and intensity of the local magnetic field as the sample cooled past the Curie temperature of iron.

"Relative" dating involves comparing one object to others to build a chronology.

Scientists currently don't have a technique for dating fossils like Lucy directly, but they can assign these fossils relative dates based on the age of layers of volcanic ash found above and below them.

Entrained argon—diffused argon that fails to escape from the magma—may again become trapped in crystals when magma cools to become solid rock again.

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