There are minor differences between isotopes of the same element, and in relatively rare circumstances it is possible to obtain some amount of differentiation between them. The effect is almost always a very small departure from homogeneous distribution of the isotopes -- perhaps enough to introduce an error of 0.002 half-lives in a non-isochron age. but it is rare and the effect is not large enough to account for extremely old ages on supposedly young formations.) as minerals form.This results in a range of X-values for the data points representing individual minerals.
Note that the mere existence of these assumptions do not render the simpler dating methods entirely useless.
In many cases, there are independent cues (such as geologic setting or the chemistry of the specimen) which can suggest that such assumptions are entirely reasonable.
Whether there's a data point on the Y-axis or not, the Y-intercept of the line doesn't change as the slope of the isochron line does (as shown in Figure 5).
Therefore, the Y-intercept of the isochron line gives the initial global ratio of could be subtracted out of each sample, and it would then be possible to derive a simple age (by the equation introduced in the first section of this document) for each sample.
The simplest form of isotopic age computation involves substituting three measurements into an equation of four variables, and solving for the fourth.