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Uranium-lead dating , abbreviated U-Pb dating , is one of the oldest [1] 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. The method is usually applied to zircon. This mineral incorporates uranium and thorium atoms into its crystal structure , but strongly rejects lead when forming. As a result, newly-formed zircon deposits will contain no lead, meaning that any lead found in the mineral is radiogenic. Since the exact rate at which uranium decays into lead is known, the current ratio of lead to uranium in a sample of the mineral can be used to reliably determine its age.

During the alpha decay steps, the zircon crystal experiences radiation damage, associated with each alpha decay.

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This damage is most concentrated around the parent isotope U and Thexpelling the daughter isotope Pb from its original position in the zircon lattice. In areas with a high concentration of the parent isotope, damage to the crystal lattice is quite extensive, and will often interconnect to form a network of radiation damaged areas.

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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. Under conditions where no lead loss or gain from the outside environment has occurred, the age of the zircon can be calculated by assuming exponential decay of Uranium.

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That is. These are said to yield concordant ages. Loss leakage of lead from the sample will result in a discrepancy in the ages determined by each decay scheme.

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This effect is referred to as discordance and is demonstrated in Figure 1. If a series of zircon samples has lost different amounts of lead, the samples generate a discordant line.

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The upper intercept of the concordia and the discordia line will reflect the original age of formation, while the lower intercept will reflect the age of the event that led to open system behavior and therefore the lead loss; although there has been some disagreement regarding the meaning of the lower intercept ages. Zircon is very chemically inert and resistant to mechanical weathering-a mixed blessing for geochronologists, as zones or even whole crystals can survive melting of their parent rock with their original uranium-lead age intact.

Zircon crystals with prolonged and complex histories can thus contain zones of dramatically different ages usually, with the oldest and youngest zones forming the core and rim, respectively, of the crystaland thus are said to demonstrate inherited characteristics.

a method of dating archaeological or geological specimens by determining the decay activity of the uranium in a given sample.

Unraveling such complications which, depending on their maximum lead-retention temperature, can also exist within other minerals generally requires in situ micro-beam analysis via, say, ion microprobe SIMS or laser ICP-MS.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Type of radiometric dating. American Journal of Science. Bibcode : AmJS Retrieved 7 January Chemical Geology.

Bibcode : ChGeo. Pb geochronology: Effective sample size matters".

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Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology. Bibcode : CoMP.

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Radiogenic Isotope Geology. Periods Eras Epochs.

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Lead atoms created by uranium decay are trapped in the crystal and build up in concentration with time. If nothing disturbs the grain to release any of this radiogenic lead, dating it is straightforward in concept. In a million-year-old rock, U is at its half-life and there will be an equal number of U and Pb atoms (the Pb/U ratio is 1). uDate will match you with a dating site like ojasjobz.com or ojasjobz.com based on your search criteria. Congratulations! You've registered to join. Uranium-series (U-series) dating is another type of radiometric dating. You will remember from our consideration of C dating that radiometric dating uses the known rate of decay of radioactive isotopes to date an object. Each radioactive isotope has a known, fixed rate of decay.

Lunisolar Solar Lunar Astronomical year numbering. Fourth, zircon is physically tough and easily separated from crushed rock samples because of its high density.

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Other minerals sometimes used for uranium-lead dating include monazite, titanite and two other zirconium minerals, baddeleyite and zirconolite.

However, zircon is so overwhelming a favorite that geologists often just refer to "zircon dating. But even the best geologic methods are imperfect. Dating a rock involves uranium-lead measurements on many zirconsthen assessing the quality of the data.

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Some zircons are obviously disturbed and can be ignored, while other cases are harder to judge. In these cases, the concordia diagram is a valuable tool.

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Consider the concordia: as zircons age, they move outward along the curve. But now imagine that some geologic event disturbs things to make the lead escape. That would take the zircons on a straight line back to zero on the concordia diagram.

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The straight line takes the zircons off the concordia. This is where data from many zircons is important.

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The disturbing event affects the zircons unequally, stripping all the lead from some, only part of it from others and leaving some untouched. The results from these zircons therefore plot along that straight line, establishing what is called a discordia.

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Now consider the discordia. If a million-year-old rock is disturbed to create a discordia, then is undisturbed for another billion years, the whole discordia line will migrate along the curve of the concordia, always pointing to the age of the disturbance.

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This means that zircon data can tell us not only when a rock formed, but also when significant events occurred during its life. The oldest zircon yet found dates from 4.

With this background in the uranium-lead method, you may have a deeper appreciation of the research presented on the University of Wisconsin's " Earliest Piece of the Earth " page, including the paper in Nature that announced the record-setting date.

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