If a zircon crystal originally crystallizes from a magma and remains a closed system (no loss or gain of U or Pb) from the time of crystallization to the present, then the Discordant dates will not fall on the Concordia curve.
Sometimes, however, numerous discordant dates from the same rock will plot along a line representing a chord on the Concordia diagram. is then interpreted to be the date that the system became closed, and the younger date, t*, the age of an event (such as metamorphism) that was responsible for Pb leakage.
By 1904 physicist Ernest Rutherford showed how this decay process could act as a clock for dating old rocks.
Meanwhile, Arthur Holmes (1890-1964) was finishing up a geology degree at the Imperial College of Science in London where he developed the technique of dating rocks using the uranium-lead method.
The best estimate for Earth's age is based on radiometric dating of fragments from the Canyon Diablo iron meteorite.
Such trapped Ar is not problematical when the age of the rock is in hundreds of millions of years.U leakage would cause discordant points to plot above the cocordia. Lunar rocks also lie on the Geochron, at least suggesting that the moon formed at the same time as meteorites. Pb separated from continents and thus from average crust also plots on the Geochron, and thus suggests that the Earth formed at the same time as the meteorites and moon.But, again, exptrapolation of the discordia back to the two points where it intersects the Concordia, would give two ages - t* representing the possible metamorphic event and t and solve for t . This argument tells when the elements were formed that make up the Earth, but does not really give us the age of the Earth. Thus, our best estimate of the age of the Earth is 4.55 billion years.Zircon has a high hardness (7.5) which makes it resistant to mechanical weathering, and it is also very resistant to chemical weathering. Chemically, zircon usually contains high amounts of U and low amounts of Pb, so that large amounts of radiogenic Pb are produced.Other minerals that also show these properties, but are less commonly used in radiometric dating are Apatite and sphene.We can also construct a Concordia diagram, which shows the values of Pb isotopes that would give concordant dates.