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Advances in Ar/Ar Dating


This Geological Society Special Publication is a long anticipated contribution to the literature documenting the recent advances in the science of 40Ar / 39Ar dating.

The main parts of the volume are introduced with a thorough summary and review of the principles and applications of the 40Ar / 39Ar dating technique. The research paper contributions are then presented, broadly organised into two complementary thematic sections addressing advances in methodological development and in the applications of the technique. Advances in methodological development (12 papers) cover aspects of argon diffusion, sample quality, age standards, neutron irradiation, analytical instruments and software, decay constants and other argon isotopes (such as 37Ar and 38Ar). The second part of the volume presents recent research efforts in the applications of the technique to the planetary sciences (4 papers), terrestrial tectonics (4 papers), detrital material provenance (1 paper), volcanism (2 papers) and archaeology and climate.

One minor criticism noted by this reviewer, which is acknowledged by the volume editors, is that no recent research contributions have been included for the fields of archaeology and climate (i.e. application of the technique to the Quaternary Period). Further reading to recent advances in these fields is indicated, but possible consideration to amend the title of the volume to reflect this omission may have been appropriate.

All sections of the volume are well written and edited, concisely laid-out with clear and appropriate figures, photographs and data-tables, features that one has come to expect from the Geological Society Special Publication series.

In summary, this reviewer considers the volume to be a comprehensive and significant contribution to the field, and the editors are to be congratulated. It is envisaged that this will become a valuable complementary volume to the established principal reference work for the technique1. The primary readership is expected to be practising geoscientific professionals and graduate students within the 40Ar / 39Ar and geochronology research communities. A recommended read and essential reference work.


1. McDougall, I. & Harrison, T.M. 1999. Geochronology and Thermochronology by the 40Ar / 39Ar Method. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 282pp.

Reviewed by Mark Griffin

ADVANCES IN 40Ar / 39Ar DATING: FROM ARCHAEOLOGY TO PLANETARY SCIENCES F. Jourdan, D.F. Mark and C. Verati (eds). Geological Society Special Publication No 378. 2014. Geological Society of London. ISBN 978-1-86239-360-8. hbk 378pp. ISSN 0305-8719. List Price: £125.00,