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The assumptions underlying the models used in the literature for obtaining the age of the Earth from terrestrial lead isotopes are severely violated by the complex evolution of the Earth, particularly the extreme chemical fractionation occurring during crust-mantle differentiation. Young conformable lead deposits are isotopically very similar to young sediments, the erosion products derived from the Earth’s most highly fractionated large-scale reservoir, the upper continental crust. Therefore, ancient conformable lead deposits are also likely to track continental compositions rather than the composition of any truly primitive reservoir.

Although the specific enrichment mechanisms during crust formation are both extreme and...

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