Radioactive decay Radioisotopic dating relies on the process of radioactive decay, in which the nuclei of radioactive atoms emit particles.This releases energy (in the form of radiation) and often transforms one element into another.
Many of these features can be recognized in 2-dimensional CL images, and isotopic analysis of such domains using a high resolution ion-microprobe with only shallow penetration of the zircon surface may be able to reconstruct much of the magmatic and complex post-magmatic history of such grains.
In particular it is generally possible to find original magmatic domains yielding concordant ages.
In contrast, destructive techniques such as LA-ICP-MS consume a large volume, leave a deep crater in the target grain, and often sample heterogeneous domains that are not visible and thus often yield discordant results which are difficult to interpret.
When solving a big problem seems impossible, break it into smaller steps.
Well, scientists just took one of geology's biggest controversies and shrunk it down to atomic size.