potassium-argon dating


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potassium-argon dating

n
(General Physics) a technique for determining the age of minerals based on the occurrence in natural potassium of a small fixed amount of radioisotope 40K that decays to the stable argon isotope 40Ar with a half-life of 1.28 × 109 years. Measurement of the ratio of these isotopes thus gives the age of the mineral. Compare radiocarbon dating, rubidium-strontium dating

potas′sium-ar′gon dat`ing


n.
a method for estimating the age of a mineral or rock, based on measurement of the rate of decay of radioactive potassium into argon.
[1965–70]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.potassium-argon dating - geological dating that relies on the proportions of radioactive potassium in a rock sample and its decay product, argon
dating, geological dating - use of chemical analysis to estimate the age of geological specimens
References in periodicals archive ?
One technique, potassium-argon dating, determines the age of a rock sample by measuring how much argon gas it contains.
Students should be able to date their fossil using both relative and absolute dating, communicate the constraints and requirements of each method, and describe how and why potassium-argon dating of volcanic ash works.
Beyond that point, chapter by chapter, he leapfrogs his prehistoric report by orders of magnitude of years, tackling potassium-argon dating and the ages of fossil hominids, molecular dating and divergence times for mammalian lineages, meteorites and the age of the solar system, and the use of color-magnitude diagrams for assessing ages of collections of stars.

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