Half life and radioactive dating
An event like metamorphism could heat the crystal to the point where Pb will become mobile.Another possible scenario involves U leakage, again possibly as a result of a metamorphic event.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.
Sometimes, however, numerous discordant dates from the same rock will plot along a line representing a chord on the Concordia diagram. is then interpreted to be the date that the system became closed, and the younger date, t*, the age of an event (such as metamorphism) that was responsible for Pb leakage.
Pb leakage is the most likely cause of discordant dates, since Pb will be occupying a site in the crystal that has suffered radiation damage as a result of U decay.
U would have been stable in the crystallographic site, but the site is now occupied by by Pb.
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.
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For example, if there were \(100 \: \text\) of \(\ce\)-251 in a sample at some time, after 800 years, there would be \(50 \: \text\) of \(\ce\)-251 remaining and after another 800 years (1600 years total), there would only be \(25 \: \text\) remaining.