This is actually a mini-simulator, in that it processes a different sample each time and generates different dates.

With 18 protons and 22 neutrons, the atom has become Argon-40 (Ar-40), an inert gas.

For every 100 K-40 atoms that decay, 11 become Ar-40.

But it can escape into the surrounding region when the right conditions are met, such as change in pressure and/or temperature.

Ar atoms are able to diffuse through and escape from molten magma because most crystals have melted and the atoms are no longer trapped.

In these materials, the decay product Ar is able to escape the liquid (molten) rock, but starts to accumulate when the rock solidifies (recrystallizes).

The amount of Argon sublimation that occurs is a function of the purity of the sample, the composition of the mother material, and a number of other factors.

The potassium is quantified by flame photometry or atomic absorption spectroscopy.

The amount of Ar is also measured to assess how much of the total argon is atmospheric in origin. 11) the following assumptions must be true for computed dates to be accepted as representing the true age of the rock: Both flame photometry and mass spectrometry are destructive tests, so particular care is needed to ensure that the aliquots used are truly representative of the sample.

These factors introduce error limits on the upper and lower bounds of dating, so that final determination of age is reliant on the environmental factors during formation, melting, and exposure to decreased pressure and/or open-air.

Time since recrystallization is calculated by measuring the ratio of the amount of The quickly cooled lavas that make nearly ideal samples for K–Ar dating also preserve a record of the direction and intensity of the local magnetic field as the sample cooled past the Curie temperature of iron.

Ar–Ar dating is a similar technique which compares isotopic ratios from the same portion of the sample to avoid this problem.