Potassium argon dating range
Argon loss occurs when radiogenic K by a fast neutron reaction) can be used as a proxy for potassium.
Therefore, unlike the conventional K/Ar technique, absolute abundances need not be measured.
However, because each of these parameters is difficult to determine independantly, a mineral standard, or monitor, of known age is irradiated with the samples of unknown age.
The monitor flux can then be extrapolated to the samples, thereby determining their flux.
The method most commonly used to date the primary standard is the conventional K/Ar technique.
The primary standard must be a mineral that is homogeneous, abundant and easily dated by the K/Ar and Ar methods.
For example, to determine the amount of reactor produced Ar ratio of the glass is then measured in the mass spectrometer to determine the correction factor that must be applied to the rest of the samples in that irradiation.
Ar total fusion measures ratios, making it ideal for samples known to be very argon retentive (eg. Total fusion is performed using a laser and results are commonly plotted on probability distribution diagrams or ideograms.
In order for an age to be calculated by the Ar technique, the J parameter must be known.
Traditionally, this primary standard has been a hornblende from the Mc Clure Mountains, Colorado (a.k.a. Once an accurate and precise age is determined for the primary standard, other minerals can be dated relative to it by the Ar technique (e.g. However, while it is often easy to determine the age of the primary standard by the K/Ar method, it is difficult for different dating laboratories to agree on the final age.
Likewise, because of heterogeneity problems with the MMhb-1 sample, the K/Ar ages are not always reproducible.