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Meteorites and Age Dating

The use of meteorites to ever more accurately determine the age of the Solar System is a common practice in modern geochemistry.

One of the pathfinders of this practice was Clair Patterson, who developed the uranium-lead dating method into lead-lead dating. By using lead isotopic data from the Canyon Diablo meteorite, he calculated an age for the Earth of 4.55 billion years. This age was far more accurate than those that existed at the time and one that has remained essentially unchanged for over 50 years.

The article by Patterson below describes this groundbreaking work and the article by Casanova describes Patterson's work on lead, not only in meteorites but in the environment.

  • Patterson C.C., (1956) Age of the meteorites and the Earth, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol. 10, 230-237. pdf

  • Casanova, I. (1998) Clair C. Patterson (1922-1995), discoverer of the age of the Earth, vol. 1, 231-232. pdf