Wiki radiometric dating

If a series of zircon samples has lost different amounts of lead, the samples generate a discordant line.

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Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.

Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.

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, is famous for having used it to obtain one of the earliest estimates of the age of the Earth.

Although zircon (Zr Si O) is most commonly used, other minerals such as monazite (see: monazite geochronology), titanite, and baddeleyite can also be used.

The dating method is usually performed on the mineral zircon.

The mineral incorporates uranium and thorium atoms into its crystal structure, but strongly rejects lead.Thus the current ratio of lead to uranium in the mineral can be used to determine its age.The method relies on two separate decay chains, the uranium series from Pb) leads to multiple dating techniques within the overall U–Pb system.A particular isotope of a particular element is called a nuclide. That is, at some point in time, an atom of such a nuclide will undergo radioactive decay and spontaneously transform into a different nuclide.This transformation may be accomplished in a number of different ways, including alpha decay (emission of alpha particles) and beta decay (electron emission, positron emission, or electron capture).Undamaged zircon retains the lead generated by radioactive decay of uranium and thorium until very high temperatures (about 900 °C), though accumulated radiation damage within zones of very high uranium can lower this temperature substantially.

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