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.

In the late 80's the method was refined by mass spectrometry.

After Viktor Viktorovich Cherdyntsev's landmark book about uranium-234 had been translated into English, U-Th dating came to widespread research attention in Western geology.

Instead, it calculates an age from the degree to which secular equilibrium has been restored between the radioactive isotope thorium-230 and its radioactive parent uranium-234 within a sample.

In contrast, uranium is soluble to some extent in all natural water, so any material that precipitates or is grown from such water also contains trace uranium, typically at levels of between a few parts per billion and few parts per million by weight.

At secular equilibrium, the number of thorium-230 decays per year within a sample is equal to the number of thorium-230 produced, which also equals the number of uranium-234 decays per year in the same sample.

The geological time scale and an age for the Earth of 4.5 b.y.Despite this, the momentum gained in the two decades prior to 1972 has made 4.5 b.y.a popularly accepted “universal constant” even though the foundations on which it was based have been virtually removed.U-series dating is a family of methods which can be applied to different materials over different time ranges. Each method is named after the isotopes measured to obtain the date, mostly a daughter and its parent. U-series dating methods Uranium–thorium dating has an upper age limit of somewhat over 500,000 years, defined by the half-life of thorium-230, the precision with which one can measure the thorium-230/uranium-234 ratio in a sample, and the accuracy to which one know the half-lives of thorium-230 and uranium-234.