Radio dating wiki
The term U–Pb dating normally implies the coupled use of both decay schemes in the 'concordia diagram' (see below).
However, use of a single decay scheme (usually Pb) leads to the U–Pb isochron dating method, analogous to the rubidium-strontium dating method.
A number of radioactive isotopes are used for this purpose, and depending on the rate of decay, are used for dating different geological periods.
All forms of isochron dating assume that the source of the rock or rocks contained unknown amounts of both radiogenic and non-radiogenic isotopes of the daughter element, along with some amount of the parent nuclide.
The greater the initial concentration of the parent, the greater the concentration of the radiogenic daughter isotope will be at some particular time.
Thus, the ratio of the daughter to non-radiogenic isotope will become larger with time, while the ratio of parent to daughter will become smaller.
The science of geochronology is the prime tool used in the discipline of chronostratigraphy, which attempts to derive absolute age dates for all fossil assemblages and determine the geologic history of the Earth and extraterrestrial bodies.
By measuring the amount of radioactive decay of a radioactive isotope with a known half-life, geologists can establish the absolute age of the parent material.