Start Why is potassium argon dating useful for dating hominids

Why is potassium argon dating useful for dating hominids

Recent advances in K-Ar geochronology, specifically the Ar dating has been a major factor in this success.

Potassium is a common element found in many materials, such as micas, clay minerals, tephra, and evaporites.

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

In the past two decades, particularly, discoveries of our fossil ancestors have been made in unprecedented numbers and diversity.

Detailed studies of these fossils provide new insights into human evolution, such as the origin of locomotion and cultural activity, and the evolution of the brain, among many other complex features that have come to define humanity.

The potassium-argon age of some meteorites is as old as 4,500,000,000 years, and volcanic rocks as young as 20,000 years old have been measured by this method.

During the latter half of this century anthropological surveys in East Africa have made significant contributions to understanding how the human species has evolved.

In the process of reworking, these ashes can pick up pre-existing detrital grains that, by definition, are older than the juvenile ash.