The inspiration for this volume arose in part from a shift in perception among U–Pb geochronologists that began to develop in the late 1980s. Prior to then, analytical geochronology emphasized progressively lower blank analysis of separated accessory mineral aggregates (e.g., Krogh 1982; Parrish 1987), with results generally interpreted to reflect a singular moment in time. For example, a widespread measure of confidence in intra-analytical reliability was conformity to an MSWD (a form of χ2 test; Wendt and Carl 1991) of unity. This approach implicitly assumed that geological processes act on timescales that are short with respect...

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