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By "age" we mean the elapsed time from when the mineral specimen was formed.Radioactive elements "decay" (that is, change into other elements) by "half lives." If a half life is equal to one year, then one half of the radioactive element will have decayed in the first year after the mineral was formed; one half of the remainder will decay in the next year (leaving one-fourth remaining), and so forth.The ratio of calcium formed to argon formed is fixed and known.

The creationist "argon escape" theory does not support their young earth model.) The argon age determination of the mineral can be confirmed by measuring the loss of potassium.We designate a specific group of atoms by using the term "nuclide." A nuclide refers to a group of atoms with specified atomic number and mass number.Potassium-Argon dating: The element potassium (symbol K) has three nuclides, K39, K40, and K41. K40 can decay in two different ways: it can break down into either calcium or argon.Contrary to creationist claims, it is possible to make that determination, as the following will explain: By way of background, all atoms of a given element have the same number of protons in the nucleus; however, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary.An atom with the same number of protons in the nucleus but a different number of neutrons is called an isotope.

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