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This nuclide decays to Strontium-87 (Sr87) with a half-life of 48.8 billion years.

Imagine going way back in time and looking at some lava that is cooling to become a rock.

Using this python program that I wrote, I am able to instantly calculate the age of the Earth to be 4.51 billion years using lead isotopic measurements alone. This is within the uncertainty claimed by Patterson.

Many other methods have been used to date the Earth, with many different sets of radioactive nuclides (and other methods).

They are all consistent with Patterson’s measurement. The mathematical details of the lead-lead isotopic clock are less straightforward than those of the Rb-Sr method.

The best-fit line shown in Figure 3 has a slope of 0.602459.

Unfortunately, the geochron equation above is transcendental, meaning there’s no algebraic solution for it and it has to be solved numerically.

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