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Geochronological techniques measure radioactive isotope systems in specific minerals, dating major tectonic events that affected those minerals and therefore source rocks feeding the sedimentary system.
As a result detrital geochronology tends to produce several ‘populations’ of similar-aged minerals and these can be interpreted to provide highly diagnostic provenance information.
Scientists use this method to date rocks that formed from between 1 million to 4.5 billion years ago, and they estimate the Earth is 4.543 billion years old.
The oldest and most reliable method they use is called Uranium-lead (U-Pb) dating.
Our primary geochronological service is detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology.
We also offer bespoke dating of other mineral-isotope systems that may provide solutions to specific problems, including geochronological dating of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology is a powerful technique used for studies of sand and sandstone provenance.
Scientists have many ways to discover how old rocks and fossils are.
The ratio of lead versus uranium in the zircon is what is used to determine the age of the rock. As you know, radioisotopes do not decay directly into a stable state; rather they go through stages of radioactive decay until reaching a stable isotope.