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History of the K/Ar-Method of Geochronology

  • F. G. Houtermans

Abstract

The history of the K/Ar-method for absolute dating of minerals and rocks is full of surprises and good guesses. The β-activity of potassium was discovered, together with that of rubidium, by J. J. Thomson as early as 1905. It was confirmed by a considerable number of authors (for the early literature of potassium β-activity cf. Meyer and Schweidler (1927)). The γ-activity of potassium was discovered by Kohlhörster in 1928 and studied by him in potassium-bearing salt mines. In 1935, Klemperer and, independently, Newman and Walke (1935), ascribed, from reasons of isotope systematics, the activity of potassium to a-then unknown — rare isotope K40. This was the first good guess. In 1935, A. O. Nier actually discovered this isotope and found its abundance to be 1.19 · 10-4 of the total K. Smythe and Hemmendinger (1937) found that the β--activity of K is actually due to K40.

Keywords

Electron Capture Impact Crater Good Guess Iron Meteorite Atomic Mass Unit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1966

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. G. Houtermans

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