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Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-Argon ' Dating'," R.
The potassium-argon (K-Ar) isotopic dating method is especially useful for determining the age of lavas.
If so, then the K-Ar and Ar-Ar "dating" of crustal rocks would be similarly questionable.
When muscovite (a common mineral in crustal rocks) is heated to 740°-860°C under high Ar pressures for periods of 3 to 10.5 hours it absorbs significant quantities of Ar, producing K-Ar "ages" of up to 5 billion years, and the absorbed Ar is indistinguishable from radiogenic argon ( In other experiments muscovite was synthesized from a colloidal gel under similar temperatures and Ar pressures, the resultant muscovite retaining up to 0.5 wt% Ar at 640°C and a vapor pressure of 4,000 atmospheres.
Thus all K-Ar and Ar-Ar "dates" of volcanic rocks are questionable, as well as fossil "dates" calibrated by them.
They are the lower mantle (below 670km), upper mantle, continental mantle lithosphere, oceanic mantle lithosphere, continental crust and oceanic crust, the latter four constituting the earth's crust. A steady-state upper mantle model has been proposed for mass transfer of rare gases, including Ar.
K since their formation, or if some or all of it came from the mantle or from other crustal rocks and minerals.
For example, in the Middle Proterozoic Musgrave Block (northern South Australia), a wide scatter of K-Ar mineral "ages" was found, ranging from 343Ma to 4493Ma due to inherited (excess) , permitting inclusion of the gas in the crystallizing minerals.
Likewise, when Ar "dating" was attempted on Proterozoic granulite-facies rocks in the Fraser Range (western Australia) and Strangways Range (central Australia), it was found that garnet, sapphirine, and quartz contained excess was probably incorporated at the time of the formation of the minerals, and calculations suggested a partial pressure of ~0.1 atm Ar in the Proterozoic lower crust of Australia, which extends over half the continent.
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Any alteration or fracturing means that the potassium or the argon or both have been disturbed.