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That is, a fresh mineral grain has its K-Ar "clock" set at zero.

What simplifies things is that potassium is a reactive metal and argon is an inert gas: Potassium is always tightly locked up in minerals whereas argon is not part of any minerals. So assuming that no air gets into a mineral grain when it first forms, it has zero argon content.

However, the Argon, a noble gas, constitutes approximately 0.1-5% of the Earth's present day atmosphere.

Because it is present within the atmosphere, every rock and mineral will have some quantity of Argon.

Susie Welch, recently retired outreach coordinator at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology, was recognized by Governor Susana Martinez for outstanding accomplishments and invaluable contributions to the state of New Mexico.