Potassium dating fossils

You cannot use K-Ar dating to directly determine the age of a fossil but you can use it to determine the age of layers of volcanic material around the fossil.The main principle with K-Ar dating is that Ar is a gas so if you have a liquid magma or lava any argon present will just leave before the lava or magma cools and forms crystals.There are some radioactive elements in rock that decay by giving off energy and turning into different, more stable elements.This radioactive decay takes place at a constant rate for each radioactive element.Scientists know exactly how long it will take for half the quantity of the element to change, and this state is known as its half-life.After another half-life has passed, the element will have decayed to a quarter of its original amount.

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.Ammonites, shelled relatives of today’s octopus, make ideal index fossils.Suppose a dinosaur fossil has been found in the beds of an ancient delta (the mouth of a river leading to the sea).By comparing fossils of different primate species, scientists can examine how features changed and how primates evolved through time.However, the age of each fossil primate needs to be determined so that fossils of the same age found in different parts of the world and fossils of different ages can be compared.

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