Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.
His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.
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.
Elements like potassium, uranium, lead and so on come in more than one version, depending upon how many neutrons they have in their atomic nucleus. Some isotopes are radioactive, meaning that they decay, at a fixed and known rate, into a completely different element.
Physicists understand why this happens, and they know the rate at which each isotope decays.
Dalrymple, referring to metamorphism and melting of rocks in the crust, has commented: "If the rock is heated or melted at some later time, then some or all the In a recent study 128 Ar isotopic analyses were obtained from ten profiles across biotite grains in high-grade metamorphic rocks, and apparent Ar-Ar "ages" within individual grains ranged from 161Ma-514Ma.
is known to cause grave problems in regional geochronology studies.
In earth's upper atmosphere, on the edge of what is commonly called outer space, light atomic nuclei from unknown sources outside of our solar system traveling at speeds approaching the speed of light called rain down continuously.Better quality fossils are formed when minerals dissolved in water seep in and replace the molecules of the corpse.When this happens, the crystal structure of the rock retains details of the internal structure of the animal.This is approximately 2,500 times as much Ar as is found in natural muscovite.Thus under certain conditions Ar can be incorporated into minerals which are supposed to exclude Ar when they crystallize. envisage noble gases from the mantle (and the atmosphere) migrating and circulating through the crust, so there should be evidence of excess in crustal rocks and their constituent minerals could well be the norm rather than the exception.He was employed at Caltech's Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences at the time of writing the first edition.He is presently employed in the Space & Atmospheric Sciences Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.These isotopes are stable, which is why they are with us today, but unstable isotopes are also present in minute amounts.About one carbon atom in a trillion (10) contains a radioactive nucleus with 6 protons and 8 neutrons — carbon 14.So radioactive isotopes act as miniature clocks, thousands of tiny clocks embedded through the substance of a rock.The rate of decay - the rate at which the clock ticks - is measured as the half-life, which is the time it takes for the quantity of isotope to be halved.