Potassium dating rocks

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 in the number of neutrons in the nucleus.

It is based on measurement of the product of the radioactive decay of an isotope of potassium (K) into argon (Ar).Clay minerals are less than 2 μm 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.The ratio of the amount of which was present at the beginning of the elapsed time period.In practice, each of these values may be expressed as a proportion of the total potassium present, as only relative, not absolute, quantities are required.

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