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Since both decay series contain a unique set of intermediate radioactive isotopes, and because each has its own half-life, independent age calculations can be made from each (Dalrymple 20).The presence of a stable lead isotope that is not the product of any decay series (204Pb) allows lead isotopes to be normalized, allowing for the use of isochrons and concordia-discordia diagrams as dating tools.

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This is because Pb, causing the isochron to decrease in slope with increasing age.

The use of lead isotope ratios makes this isochron self-checking.

A large scattering of measurements would indicate the sample is multi-stage rather than single-stage, making the isochron unreliable.

Two other characteristics of lead isotope measurements make it superior to other methods.

First, measuring the isotope ratio of a single element can be done much more precisely than measuring isotope ratios of two differing elements.


  1. G. Brent Dalrymple's classic debunking of the young-earth 'scientific' creationism's dating methods with a short explanation of how geologists know the age.

  2. A recent study from Paris’s Pierre and Marie Curie University has shown that a dagger found in king tut’s tomb was forged from meteorites.

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