Problems in the radioisotope dating method
Nd ratios on several minerals with a mass spectrometer and then from the slope determine the age of the rock. If a magma cools quickly on the surface of the Earth, some of the Ar may be trapped.
The initial ratio has particular importance for studying the chemical evolution of the Earth's mantle and crust, as we discussed in the section on igneous rocks. If this happens, then the date obtained will be older than the date at which the magma erupted.
Thus, if we start out with 1 gram of the parent isotope, after the passage of 1 half-life there will be 0.5 gram of the parent isotope left.
After the passage of two half-lives only 0.25 gram will remain, and after 3 half lives only 0.125 will remain etc.
Zircon has a high hardness (7.5) which makes it resistant to mechanical weathering, and it is also very resistant to chemical weathering. Chemically, zircon usually contains high amounts of U and low amounts of Pb, so that large amounts of radiogenic Pb are produced.
Other minerals that also show these properties, but are less commonly used in radiometric dating are Apatite and sphene.
The other point that Justin made was that the dating for Uranium/Lead can be derived from 3 sources: U238 decay, U235 decay and the lead isotope ratio.
These 3 methods can be checked against each other, especially using the Concordia line/diagram.
Such trapped Ar is not problematical when the age of the rock is in hundreds of millions of years.It can be experimentally confirmed that molten Zircon rejects lead.This is highly significant, as it means that the initial conditions are known to a high level of confidence.To see how we actually use this information to date rocks, consider the following: Usually, we know the amount, N, of an isotope present today, and the amount of a daughter element produced by decay, D*.
By definition, D* = N-1) (2) Now we can calculate the age if we know the number of daughter atoms produced by decay, D* and the number of parent atoms now present, N.The energies involved are so large, and the nucleus is so small that physical conditions in the Earth (i.e. The rate of decay or rate of change of the number N of particles is proportional to the number present at any time, i.e.