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By dating meteorites Patterson was directly dating the age of various planetesimals. As planetesimals collided, various fragments were scattered and produced meteorites. Iron meteorites were identified as pieces of the core, while stony meteorites were segments of the mantle and crustal units of these various planetesimals.

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Samples of iron meteorite from Canyon Diablo Meteor Crater Arizona were found to have the least radiogenic composition of any material in the solar system. Therefore, troilite found in Canyon Diablo represents the primeval lead isotope composition of the solar system, dating back to 4. Together, these samples define an isochron, whose slope gives the age of meteorites as 4. Patterson also analyzed terrestrial sediment collected from the ocean floor, which was believed to be representative of the Bulk Earth composition.


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Because the isotope composition of this sample plotted on the meteorite isochron, it suggested that earth had the same age and origin as meteorites, therefore solving the age of the Earth and giving rise to the name 'geochron'. Lead isotope isochron diagram used by C. Patterson to determine the age of the Earth in Animation shows progressive growth over million years Myr of the lead isotope ratios for two stony meteorites Nuevo Laredo and Forest City from initial lead isotope ratios matching those of the Canyon Diablo iron meteorite.

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Chondrules and calcium—aluminium-rich inclusions CAIs are spherical particles that make up chondritic meteorites and are believed to be the oldest objects in the solar system. Hence precise dating of these objects is important to constrain the early evolution of the solar system and the age of the earth. The U—Pb dating method can yield the most precise ages for early solar-system objects due to the optimal half-life of U.

However, the absence of zircon or other uranium-rich minerals in chondrites, and the presence of initial non-radiogenic Pb common Pb , rules out direct use of the U-Pb concordia method. Therefore, the most precise dating method for these meteorites is the Pb—Pb method, which allows a correction for common Pb. When the abundance of Pb is relatively low, this isotope has larger measurement errors than the other Pb isotopes, leading to very strong correlation of errors between the measured ratios.

This makes it difficult to determine the analytical uncertainty on the age. The most accurate ages are produced by samples near the y-axis, which was achieved by step-wise leaching and analysis of the samples.

Uranium–lead dating

The result of U-corrected Pb—Pb dating has produced ages of This supports the idea that CAIs crystallization and chondrule formation occurred around the same time during the formation of the solar system. However, chondrules continued to form for approximately 3 My after CAIs.

Hence the best age for the original formation of the solar system is This date also represents the time of initiation of planetary accretion. Successive collisions between accreted bodies led to the formation of larger and larger planetesimals, finally forming the Earth—Moon system in a giant impact event. The age difference between CAIs and chondrules measured in these studies verifies the chronology of the early solar system derived from extinct short-lived nuclide methods such as 26 Al- 26 Mg, thus improving our understanding of the development of the solar system and the formation of the earth.

Uranium/lead dating provides most accurate date yet for Earth's largest extinction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The isotopic constitution of lead and the measurement of geological time 3. 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. These fission tracks inevitably act as conduits deep within the crystal, thereby providing a method of transport to facilitate the leaching of lead isotopes from the zircon crystal.


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  • 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. 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. This effect is referred to as discordance and is demonstrated in Figure 1.

    Lead–lead dating - Wikipedia

    If a series of zircon samples has lost different amounts of lead, the samples generate a discordant line. 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 crystal , and thus are said to demonstrate inherited characteristics.

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    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. The disintegration products of uranium: American Journal of Science Retrieved 7 January Alpha-recoil in U-Pb geochronology: Effective sample size matters.

    Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology , 4: Combined annealing and multi-step dissolution analysis for Improved precision and accuracy of zircon ages. Radiogenic Isotope Geology 2nd ed.

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    lead—lead dating

    Lunisolar Solar Lunar Astronomical year numbering. Deep time Geological history of Earth Geological time units. Chronostratigraphy Geochronology Isotope geochemistry Law of superposition Luminescence dating Samarium—neodymium dating. Amino acid racemisation Archaeomagnetic dating Dendrochronology Ice core Incremental dating Lichenometry Paleomagnetism Radiometric dating Radiocarbon Uranium—lead Potassium—argon Tephrochronology Luminescence dating Thermoluminescence dating.

    Fluorine absorption Nitrogen dating Obsidian hydration Seriation Stratigraphy.