Thorium uranium dating
Fission tracks and micro-cracks within the crystal will further extend this radiation damage network.These fission tracks act as conduits deep within the crystal, providing a method of transport to facilitate the leaching of lead isotopes from the zircon crystal.
Finally, ages can also be determined from the U–Pb system by analysis of Pb isotope ratios alone. Clair Cameron Patterson, an American geochemist who pioneered studies of uranium–lead radiometric dating methods, used it to obtain one of the earliest estimates of the age of the Earth.
and most refined of the radiometric dating schemes.
It can be used to date rocks that formed and crystallised from about 1 million years to over 4.5 billion years ago with routine precisions in the 0.1–1 percent range. This mineral incorporates uranium and thorium atoms into its crystal structure, but strongly rejects lead when forming.
Although zircon (Zr Si O) is most commonly used, other minerals such as monazite (see: monazite geochronology), titanite, and baddeleyite can also be used.
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Where crystals such as zircon with uranium and thorium inclusions do not occur, uranium-lead dating techniques have also been applied to other minerals such as calcite/aragonite and other carbonate minerals.
Loss (leakage) of lead from the sample will result in a discrepancy in the ages determined by each decay scheme.
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