Lead isotope dating

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It might be argued that although radiometric dating has a few problems, the large body of concordant data using different isotopes shows that the dates are of the right order.

In fact, there is no large body of concordant data.

In 1972 this assumption was shown to be highly questionable.

Up until 1972 these could be explained as being contaminated with radiogenic lead from uranium and thorium decay.

In 1972, however, Gale showed unequivocally that there is by no means sufficient uranium and thorium to account for what could previously have been called radiogenic lead.

The radiometric dating method is basically an extrapolation of the form shown in Fig. If the decay constant is known with great accuracy, an extrapolation over one or two thousand years may be regarded as quite reasonable. It should be obvious that the further one projects present rates, the more likely one is to be quite wrong. era started about 1955 with the publication of a classic paper by Patterson In spite of cautions and scepticism advised by the authors this number has been widely and enthusiastically accepted and is usually quoted as if the evidence was decisive and conclusive. Lead-206 and lead-207 are known daughter products from the decay of uranium-238 and uranium-235, respectively.

It has assumed something of the status of a universal constant to which all other data must be fitted, thus it has become common practice to assume that data which does not fit this result is either wrong or unintelligible. Lead-204, a minor isotope of common lead, has no radioactive parent and is believed to be primordial lead.

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