Radiometric dating , radioactive dating or radioisotope dating is a technique which is used to date materials such as rocks or carbon , in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed. The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay. Together with stratigraphic principles , radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geologic time scale. By allowing the establishment of geological timescales, it provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and the deduced rates of evolutionary change. Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.
Zircon Dating - ScienceAid
Uranium—lead dating , abbreviated U—Pb dating , is one of the oldest  and most refined of the radiometric dating schemes. It can be used to date rocks that formed and crystallised from about 1 million years to over 4. The method is usually applied to zircon. This mineral incorporates uranium and thorium atoms into its crystal structure , but strongly rejects lead when forming. As a result, newly-formed zircon deposits will contain no lead, meaning that any lead found in the mineral is radiogenic. Since the exact rate at which uranium decays into lead is known, the current ratio of lead to uranium in a sample of the mineral can be used to reliably determine its age.
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Faceted Zircon: A collection of natural and heat-treated zircons in a range of colors. Starting at top right and going clockwise: rose, peach, yellow, green, blue, honey, white, champagne, cognac, and mocha. These stones are about 5 millimeters in size and weigh approximately 7. The white, blue, green, yellow, peach and rose colors have been produced by heat treatment.
Used in countless everyday products, zircon is an essential component of our modern world. Zircon and its derivatives, zirconia and zirconium , are used in a wide and diverse range of domestic and industrial applications. For example, ceramic tiles and sanitaryware in many buildings and bathrooms contain a small amount of zircon to increase their resilience, whiteness and brightness.