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One of the most widely used is potassium–argon dating (K–Ar dating).Potassium-40 is a radioactive isotope of potassium that decays into argon-40.The half-life of potassium-40 is 1.3 billion years, far longer than that of carbon-14, allowing much older samples to be dated.Potassium is common in rocks and minerals, allowing many samples of geochronological or archeological interest to be dated.K–Ar dating was used to calibrate the geomagnetic polarity time scale.Thermoluminescence testing also dates items to the last time they were heated.Argon, a noble gas, is not commonly incorporated into such samples except when produced in situ through radioactive decay.
Because of these and other factors, Thermoluminescence is at the most about 15% accurate.
Absolute dating provides a numerical age or range in contrast with relative dating which places events in order without any measure of the age between events.
In archaeology, absolute dating is usually based on the physical, chemical, and life properties of the materials of artifacts, buildings, or other items that have been modified by humans and by historical associations with materials with known dates (coins and written history).
This technique is based on the principle that all objects absorb radiation from the environment.
This process frees electrons within minerals that remain caught within the item.Carbon-14 moves up the food chain as animals eat plants and as predators eat other animals. It takes 5,730 years for half the carbon-14 to change to nitrogen; this is the half-life of carbon-14.