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It can only escape when the rock is in its molten state, and so the amount of fossilized argon present in lava allows scientists to date the age of the solidification.
DR Potassium 40 is a radioisotope that can be found in trace amounts in natural potassium, is at the origin of more than half of the human body activity: undergoing between 4 and 5,000 decays every second for an 80kg man.
In both argon 40 and calcium 40, however, the number of protons and neutrons are even, granting them that extra stability.
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Argon 40, a gas held prisoner by lava The potassium-argon method is frequently used to date lava flows whose age is between a million and a billion years.When an atom of potassium 40 decays into argon 40, the argon atom produced is trapped by the crystalline structure of the lava.At that moment, the rock contains a certain amount of potassium but no argon.With time and the potassium 40 disintegrations, the gaseous argon atoms accumulate very slowly in the lava where they are trapped.
Without this characteristic gamma ray, it would be impossible to detect and identify the decay of potassium 40.