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The K–Ar method works on the assumption that the “clock” begins to “tick” the moment that the rock hardens.That is, it assumes that no argon derived by radioactive decay was present initially, but after the lava cooled and solidified, the argon from radioactive decay was unable to escape and started to accumulate.Yet they yield “ages” up to 3.5 million years which are thus false.How can we trust the use of this same “dating” on rocks whose ages we don’t know?Fossils are almost never dated by radiometric methods, since they rarely contain suitable radioactive elements.

In using this method, it is assumed that there was no daughter radiogenic argon (Ar*) in rocks when they formed.13 For volcanic rocks which cool from molten lavas, this would seem to be a reasonable assumption. Inset: Andesite of the June 30, 1954 flow, Mt Ngauruhoe, seen at 60 times magnification under a geological microscope. The darker recent lavas were clearly visible and each one easily identified (with the aid of maps) on the northwestern slopes against the lighter-coloured older portions of the cone (Figures 4 and 7).

Instead, other methods are used to work out a fossil’s age.

These include radiometric dating of volcanic layers above or below the fossils or by comparisons to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

The 18 August flow was more than 18 m (55 feet) thick and still warm almost a year after congealing.

Explosions of ash completed this long eruptive period.

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Afterwards, Ngauruhoe steamed almost continuously, with many small ash eruptions8 (Figure 5).

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  1. The phenomenologist Roman Ingarden did influential work in esthetics and in a Husserl-style metaphysics; his student Karol Wojtyła acquired a unique influence on the world stage as Pope John Paul II.