Abstract

The 40Ar/39Ar radioisotopic dating technique is one of the most precise and versatile methods available for dating events in Earth's history, but the accuracy of this method is limited by the accuracy with which the ages of neutron-fluence monitors (dating standards) are known. Calibrating the ages of standards by conventional means has proved difficult and contentious. The emerging astronomically calibrated geomagnetic polarity time scale (APTS) offers a means to calibrate the ages of 40Ar/39Ar dating standards that is independent of absolute isotopic abundance measurements. Seven published 40Ar/39Ar dates for polarity transitions, nominally ranging from 0.78 to 3.40 Ma, are based on the Fish Canyon sanidine standard and can be compared with APTS predictions. Solving the 40Ar/39Ar age equation for the age of the Fish Canyon sanidine that produces coincidence with the APTS age for each of these seven reversals yields mutually indistinguishable estimates ranging from 27.78 to 28.09 Ma, with an inverse variance-weighted mean of 27.95 ± 0.18 Ma. Normalized residuals are minimized at an age of 27.92 Ma, indicating the robustness of the solution.

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