I'm aware my question might be considered a duplicate of this one: Radio-dating and the age of the earth
I read that one and I looked everywhere and I still can't find my peace of mind. I would really like to understand the following points:
does one uranium nucleus start the radioactive decaying process the instant it is born inside a supernova ? (I understand that for a single nucleus the chance of decaying which is an instantaneous event, grows from 0% to 100% in the time from the beginning to the half-life)
while talking about a collection of atoms, Wikipedia states here that "This predictability allows the relative abundances of related nuclides to be used as a clock to measure the time from the incorporation of the original nuclides into a material to the present."
@JohnRennie helped me understand that chemically speaking zircon and lead do not mix whereas zircon and uranium do. So basically macroscopic contamination via accretion with flying lead is an event too rare to take into consideration right ? Also... I understand that the uranium-lead decay series has very short half-lives for every nuclide except for the beginning and the end (uranium and lead) and so, from a cosmological perspective it's quite improbable that zircon would mix with anything other than uranium, should a chemical compatibility exist with another nuclide.
Please bare with me and excuse my "highly scientific" vocabulary.
I have an experiment I would like to imagine in order to discover what I'm doing wrong:
- A star goes supernova
- We concentrate our attention on one uranium nucleus which is fused together during the violent event
- The uranium nucleus travels for millenia towards the an accretion cloud surrounding a newborn star
- The nucleus collides with brand new molten zircon crystal and becomes part of it.
Let's say that event 4. was happening after 0.99 uranium half-lives and the uranium nucleus still hadn't decayed. Isn't it imminent that the nucleus will decay pretty soon after event 4. ?
I mean, I understand that if the nucleus would've become thorium or protactirium or lead it wouldn't've gotten stuck in the crystal for chemical reasons, but if it was still uranium what does that say about the internal clock of the nucleus which had been ticking for 99% of the half-life ?
Is that clock reset because of external electromagnetic reasons the moment the nucleus becomes part of the crystal ?
Thank you for your indulgence