Abstract Detailed investigations have been made of two amphibole samples where 40Ar/ 39Ar age spectra have been interpreted to show argon diffusive loss. Both samples display complex compositional zoning that reflects partial major and minor element chemical re-equilibration during later thermal events that is associated with the loss of radiogenic 40Ar. The apparent diffusive loss age spectra in these samples are an artefact of this chemical re-equilibration process. One sample additionally shows the effect of potassium gain and contamination with a potassium-rich phase (biotite). The resulting ages in this sample are geologically meaningless and the apparent fit to a theoretical diffusive loss curve is coincidental. This study shows that volume diffusive loss of argon appears to operate at slower rates than argon loss by chemical re-equilibration in amphiboles.