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zircon and radiometric dating-18

Uranium comes in two common isotopes with atomic weights of 235 and 238 (we'll call them 235U and 238U).

Both are unstable and radioactive, shedding nuclear particles in a cascade that doesn't stop until they become lead (Pb).

Second, zircon has a high trapping temperature of 900°C.

Its clock is not easily disturbed by geologic events—not erosion or consolidation into sedimentary rocks, not even moderate metamorphism.

Uranium easily substitutes for zirconium while lead is strongly excluded.