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The Ar-Ar method is considered superior, but some of its problems are avoided in the older K-Ar method.Also, the cheaper K-Ar method can be used for screening or reconnaissance purposes, saving Ar-Ar for the most demanding or interesting problems.

These effects must be corrected, and the process is intricate enough to require computers.

Ar-Ar analyses cost around $1000 per sample and take several weeks.

A variant of the K-Ar method gives better data by making the overall measurement process simpler.

The key is to put the mineral sample in a neutron beam, which converts potassium-39 into argon-39.

With each increment in quality, more subtle sources of error have been found and taken into account.

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