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If a series of zircon samples has lost different amounts of lead, the samples generate a discordant line.The upper intercept of the concordia and the discordia line will reflect the original age of formation, while the lower intercept will reflect the age of the event that led to open system behavior and therefore the lead loss; although there has been some disagreement regarding the meaning of the lower intercept ages.Samples of iron meteorite from Canyon Diablo (Meteor Crater) Arizona were found to have the least radiogenic composition of any material in the solar system.The U/Pb ratio was so low that no radiogenic decay was detected in the isotopic composition.

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Where crystals such as zircon with uranium and thorium inclusions do not occur, uranium-lead dating techniques have also been applied to other minerals such as calcite/aragonite and other carbonate minerals.The Pb ratios of three stony and two iron meteorites were measured.The dating of meteorites would then help Patterson in determining not only the age of these meteorites but also the age of Earth's formation.These types of minerals often produce lower precision ages than igneous and metamorphic minerals traditionally used for age dating, but are more common in the geologic record.During the alpha decay steps, the zircon crystal experiences radiation damage, associated with each alpha decay.

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