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The Uranium-Lead U-Pb Dating is a method that encompasses several techniques that are employed in determining the geological age of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial for example, meteorites rocks. The method was first suggested by Boltwood in when he postulated lead to be the decay product of uranium. The method has a dating range from 4. More recently, Uranium-Lead Dating methods based on closed system disequilibrium conditions have been developed Figure 1. If the results agree, it is likely the age obtained is a fair approximation of the actual age. If the results conflict-a common problem because uranium and lead may be gained or lost from many minerals-the problem of loss or gain of isotopes is readily apparent. Using plots such as that shown in Figure 2 lead-lead technique , the effects of lead loss can be minimized because it determines the ages from the lead isotopes alone.

Dating - Dating - The isochron method: Many radioactive dating methods are based on minute additions of daughter products to a rock or mineral in which a considerable amount of daughter-type isotopes already exists. These isotopes did not come from radioactive decay in the system but rather formed during the original creation of the elements. In this case, it is a big advantage to present the.

This involves uranium isotopes with an atomic mass of This is the most common form of uranium. It decays by a step process into lead, which is stable. Each step involves the elimination of either an alpha or a beta particle.

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Therefore the process is:. Each individual atom has a chance of decaying by this process. If you were able to examine just one atom, you would not know whether or not it would decay.

The chance of it decaying is not definite, by human standards, and is similar to the chance of rolling a particular number on a dice. Although we cannot determine what will happen to an individual atom, we can determine what will happen to a few million atoms.

This is similar to our dice analogy. We cannot tell what number we will roll in any one shake, but if we rolled 6, dice, the chances are very high that 1, of them would have landed on a six. One dice is uteknoderas.comedictable. Many dice follow a statistically predictable pattern.

In the same way, one U atom is uteknoderas.comedictable, but a sample containing many millions of U atoms will be very predictable. What happens statistically is that half of the available atoms will have decayed in a given period, specific to each radioactive species, called the half-life.

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For example, if element Aa had a half-life of 1 day and we had 1, lbs. By observing how fast U decays into lead, we can calculate the half-life of U This is a theoretical calculation, and we can therefore determine that the half-life of U is 4.

### Using Uranium/Lead Dating to Estimate the Age of a Rock (Question 2)

Remember that the half-life is a statistical measure. Granting that U has a half-life of 4. A very common rock that contains U is granite.

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If we look at some of the very small zircon crystals in granite, we can accurately measure how much U and Pb the crystal contains. In order to calculate the age of the rock, we need three other pieces of information:.

Using the above assumptions, it is calculated that the zircon crystals have an age of about 1. The radioactive decay process above can be seen to produce 8 alpha-particles for each one atom of U The rate of diffusion of helium from a zircon crustal can be measured.

It turns out that this rate of diffusion of helium is compatible with the crystals being about 5, years old, not 1. Although assumptions 2 and 3 are not provable, they actually seem very likely in this particular example.

Therefore, it seems that the first assumption must be wrong 1. Remember that we have already said that these experimenters are highly skilled. It is therefore unlikely that the laboratory technicians have made a mistake in their measurements of U or Pb The only possible conclusion, therefore, is that the half-life of U has not been constant throughout the lifetime of the granite and its zircon crystals.

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The part of the rock a dater will use to date the rock is normally the zircon in the rock. It is assumed that when the rock cools to the point that it makes the zircon, all of the lead is excluded from the zircon.

If this is true, it makes the dating simple because if the half-lifes are correct, the dater only has to find the ratio of the amount of lead and uranium in the sample [1]. The benefits of using zircon is that the trapping temperature is C. This temperature makes the zircon hard to pull out substances out of it. From what has been observed, even small amounts of rock metamorphosis should not disturb the elements in the zircon.

Uranium-Lead Dating. Ages determined by radioactive decay are always subject to assumptions about original concentrations of the isotopes. The natural radioactive series which involve lead as a daughter element do offer a mechanism to test the assumptions. Common lead contains a . Of all the isotopic dating methods in use today, the uranium-lead method is the oldest and, when done carefully, the most reliable. Unlike any other method, uranium-lead has a natural cross-check built into it that shows when nature has tampered with the evidence. Uranium-lead dating method is usually performed on the mineral zircon. Zircons from Jack Hills in Western Australia, have yielded U-Pb ages up to billion years, interpreted to be the age of crystallization, making them the oldest minerals so far dated on Earth. Age of the Earth

Another benefit is that zircon has been found in most igneous rocks. The last of the benefits is that the zircon, itself, is very hard. This fact helps with extracting the zircon out of the rock it was in [1]. Most radiometric daters prefer using zircon for these reasons, but it is not the only compound used for uranium-lead dating.

Some other compounds used that have zirconium are zirconoliteand badeleyite. Other compounds that do not contain zirconium but are commonly used for this method are titaniteand monazite. Since most radiometric daters prefer using zircon for this process, geologists often call uranium-lead dating zircon dating [1].

With all radiometric dating processes, the accuracy of uranium-lead dating is called into question. Some of the classic problems with this kind of dating process include what the process can really date, how far the radiometric process can date accurately, and the assumptions taken so the dating process works.

One assumption is to use a worldview that uniformitarianism is accepted [3]. Where is the time from starting point, the original amount of uranium, the amount of uranium at the measurement, the original amount of lead, the amount of lead at the measurement, the rate uranium changes to lead, the average rate of loss and gain in the amount of lead, the average rate of loss and gain in the amount of uranium.

Uranium-Lead dating only works on igneous and metamorphic rocks because sedimentary layers contain small pieces of a other rock layers [3].

# Uranium lead dating method

Like all radiometric dating methods, uranium-lead dating has a range that it works best. For uranium-lead has a range of 10 million to 4. This means that to begin with, any rock dated with this process will be in the 10's of millions [5]. For Uranium - Lead dating to work, scientists have to make three assumptions. These assumptions are that the system being dated is a closed system ; at the beginning of the time period, there are no daughter isotopes present; and the rate of radioactive decay stays the same through the whole time period.

Once all these assumptions are taken, the equation above simplifies to [4]. Without a closed system, uranium-lead dating, like all other radiometric dating methods, falls apart. Assuming a closed system means that nothing on the outside of the rock affected the sample. This means that none of the parent or daughter isotope leaked in or out. It also implies that none of the factors that might affect the rate of the radioactive decay could not.

This is an ideal concept that cannot happen. If the ages this dating process generates are true, it gets harder to assume that nothing on the outside of the sample has any effect on the system. After a few million or billion years of a near-closed system, it will have a large error [6]. To find the age of a rock, a person trying to find it has to know the original amount of the parent isotope, and the original amount of the daughter isotope.

The common assumption evolutionary scientists use is that the original amount was zero. This is not scientific because at the beginning of that rock, there were no scientific observers to measure original amount of daughter isotope, in this case that would be lead and lead [4].

All radiometric dating systems depend on the idea that radioactive decay happens at a constant rate. It has been found that the rates fluctuate for an unknown reason. One of the explanations has been found that the rates of decay of some radioactive isotopes change depending on the its proximity to the sun.

Uranium-thorium-lead dating, also called Common-lead Dating, method of establishing the time of origin of a rock by means of the amount of common lead it contains; common lead is any lead from a rock or mineral that contains a large amount of lead and a small amount of the radioactive progenitors of lead-i.e., the uranium isotopes uranium and uranium and the thorium isotope thorium The Uranium-Lead (U-Pb) Dating is a method that encompasses several techniques that are employed in determining the geological age of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial (for example, meteorites) rocks. The method was first suggested by Boltwood in when he postulated lead to be the decay product of uranium. Jan 23, Uranium-lead (hereafter U-Pb) radioisotope dating is now the preferred absolute dating method among geochronologists (geologists whose field of research is in dating earth materials: rocks, rock layers, fossils, etc.). But there are several Author: Troy Lacey.