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Step-heating is the most common way and involves either a furnace or a laser to uniformily heat the sample to evolve argon.
The individual ages from each heating step are then graphically plotted on an age spectrum or an isochron.
Argon can mobilized into or out of a rock or mineral through alteration Ar and potassium, there is not a reliable way to determine if the assumptions are valid.
Argon loss and excess argon are two common problems that may cause erroneous ages to be determined.
However, the Argon, a noble gas, constitutes approximately 0.1-5% of the Earth's present day atmosphere.
Because it is present within the atmosphere, every rock and mineral will have some quantity of Argon.
The isotopes the KAr system relies on are Potassium (K) and Argon (Ar).
Potassium, an alkali metal, the Earth's eighth most abundant element is common in many rocks and rock-forming minerals.
The results from a laser probe can be plotted in several graphical ways, including a map of a grain showing lateral argon distribution.
The quantity of potassium in a rock or mineral is variable proportional to the amount of silica present.
Therefore, mafic rocks and minerals often contain less potassium than an equal amount of silicic rock or mineral.
The monitoring of the interfering reactions is performed through the use of laboratory salts and glasses.
For example, to determine the amount of reactor produced Ar ratio of the glass is then measured in the mass spectrometer to determine the correction factor that must be applied to the rest of the samples in that irradiation.