Natural Sciences >> GeologyPotassiumArgon Radiometric Datingby Blake Roux
Submitted : Fall 2014 Radiometric dating provides science with a powerful tool that uses radioactivity as a measure of the age of geologic formations. The study of the relationship between isotopes and decay rates produces applicable calculations to determine the probable age of a mineral or rock sample. An example of a radiometric decay technique is the PotassiumArgon method. This method determines the mineral’s geological time scale by measurements of potassium and argon within a rock sample. An igneous rock sample found in Damascus, Virginia along the Blue Ridge Mountains contains several grains of the mineral potassium feldspar. To determine the apparent age of each mineral and the probable age of the rock sample requires an appropriate mathematical equation. The mathematical expression that relates radioactive decay to geologic time is called the age equation. This equation implements the PotassiumArgon method through the use of specific decay constant and is effective to determine the age of the three minerals identified within the rock specimen and the geological age of the rock sample.
