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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.
and most refined of the radiometric dating schemes.
During the alpha decay steps, the zircon crystal experiences radiation damage, associated with each alpha decay.
This damage is most concentrated around the parent isotope (U and Th), expelling the daughter isotope (Pb) from its original position in the zircon lattice.
These fission tracks act as conduits deep within the crystal, providing a method of transport to facilitate the leaching of lead isotopes from the zircon crystal.
Loss (leakage) of lead from the sample will result in a discrepancy in the ages determined by each decay scheme.