Radioactive carbon dating fossils

The Re-Os isotopic system was first developed in the early 1960s, but recently has been improved for accurate age determinations.

The half-life is the time it takes for half of the parent atoms to decay.

However, potassium is very mobile during metamorphism and alteration, and so this technique is not used much for old rocks, but is useful for rocks of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras, particularly unaltered igneous rocks.

Argon-Argon dating (39Ar-40Ar) This technique developed in the late 1960s but came into vogue in the early 1980s, through step-wise release of the isotopes.

This technique has become more widely used since the late 1950s.

Its great advantage is that most rocks contain potassium, usually locked up in feldspars, clays and amphiboles.

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