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Dating method for volcanic ash how accurate is carbon 14 dating

Volcanic rock -- like the trail at Laetoli -- can be dated by a method called potassium-argon dating.Hot, newly erupted lava and ash contain a form of the chemical element potassium (called potassium-40) that is radioactive.The date can further define the age of a geologic period.The age can be used to date the volcano that it came from or identify the volcano.

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A sample of volcanic ash, for instance, can be given an absolute date of 3.18 million years old.Presumably if all the world’s outcrops were integrated, sediments representing all of geologic time would be available for examination.This optimistic hope, however, must be tempered by the realization that much of the Precambrian record—older than 541 million years—is missing.By time reference in this case means that the layers above were formed after the volcano erupted and those below were formed before the eruption.It doesn't tell when they were formed in terms of years.This provides a way to give a time reference to the layers above and below.This time reference is consistent over long distances.The amount of the element left, when the decay rate is known can be used to measure the age of the ash layer in years. I want to point out that this kind of the date is not perfect, but has a range stated as pulse or minus years.This date will give the age in years of the rock above and below the ash layer."Relative" dating involves comparing one object to others to build a chronology.Scientists currently don't have a technique for dating fossils like Lucy directly, but they can assign these fossils relative dates based on the age of layers of volcanic ash found above and below them.


  1. Dec 1, 1999. Aerial view, looking south at sunrise, of volcanoes Mt Ngauruhoe foreground. Turbulent avalanches of ash and blocks swept down Ngauruhoe's sides at. The potassium-argon K–Ar dating method is often used to date.

  2. To get an age in years, we use radiometric dating of the rocks. Not every rock can be dated this way, but volcanic ash deposits are among those that can be.

  3. The most important are Relative Dating, in which fossils and layers of rock are. volcanic ash, could be analyzed chemically to determine the ages, in years.

  4. Dating - Correlation Correlation is, as mentioned earlier, the technique of. being analyzed to provide precise absolute ages for the volcanic ash and the fossils.

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