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Radiometric dating

Radioactive dating encompasses a range of techniques that are used to give an age to rocks or geological events/processes. Typically they involve comparing the measured abundances of naturally occurring isotopes (parent) and their decay products (daughter) using the known rate of decay for these systems (decay rates/ “half-lives”).

Uranium-lead (U-Pb) age dating is one of the more common forms of radiogenic dating techniques used and has the advantage of actually providing two independent decay schemes (Uranium235 to lead207 and uranium238 to lead206) each with different decay rates.

Zircon (ZrSiO4) is perhaps the most well known mineral used in U-Pb age dating and can be accomplished at the AAC using laser ablation ICP-MS.