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This means that zircon data can tell us not only when a rock formed, but also when significant events occurred during its life.
The oldest zircon yet found dates from 4.4 billion years ago.
With this background in the uranium-lead method, you may have a deeper appreciation of the research presented on the University of Wisconsin's "Earliest Piece of the Earth" page, including the 2001 paper in Nature that announced the record-setting date.
We’re excited for you and your family to discover how science confirms creation. “We beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
But now imagine that some geologic event disturbs things to make the lead escape.
Consider the concordia: as zircons age, they move outward along the curve.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).In many cases, there are independent cues (such as geologic setting or the chemistry of the specimen) which can suggest that such assumptions are entirely reasonable.However, the methods must be used with care -- and one should be cautious about investing much confidence in the resulting age...