Lead-206 and lead-207 are also believed to be present in primordial lead since there is insufficient uranium to account for all the lead.
Just how much lead-206 and 207 were present at the beginning, nobody knows. As a uranium ore ages, the ratio of lead-206 to lead-204 increases as does the ratio of lead-206 to lead-207.
Radioactive dating uranium lead
Up until 1972 these could be explained as being contaminated with radiogenic lead from uranium and thorium decay.
In 1972, however, Gale showed unequivocally that there is by no means sufficient uranium and thorium to account for what could previously have been called radiogenic lead.
It is probably because of this type of evidence for extensive mixing in the alteration zone that Patterson “In view of the evidence for extensive mixing, it would seem contrary to the facts to postulate differing frozen lead/uranium ratios that have existed for billions of years.
The requirements of the assumptions in the lead ore method are so extreme it is unlikely that it should give a correct age.” So they took a different approach.
They estimated the age of the Earth by substituting the lead isotope ratios of certain meteorites in the Holmes-Houtermans equation.
In this equation the primordial lead ratios are required.
Since 1955 the estimate for the age of the Earth has been based on the assumption that certain meteorite lead isotope ratios are equivalent to the primordial lead isotope ratios on Earth.
In 1972 this assumption was shown to be highly questionable.
Before 1955, ages for the Earth based on uranium/thorium/lead ratios were generally about a billion years younger than the currently popular 4.5 billion years. old Earth is reviewed and deficiencies of the uranium/lead method are discussed.