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Zircon does incorporate initial Pb when it crystallizes. It cannot be proven that the Pb in apparently cogenetic U- or Th-free minerals is only initial Pb, and that it is identical to the initial Pb in the mineral being dated.
Nor can the measured Pb isotope ratios be used to somehow decide what proportions of them are the initial Pb without recourse to unprovable assumptions about the mineral or rock’s history or their interpreted U-Th-Pb ages within an assumed deep time history.
There is also primordial Pb that the earth acquired when it formed, its isotopic composition determined as that of troilite in the Canyon Diablo iron meteorite.
A variety of analytical instruments have also now been developed using different micro-sampling techniques coupled with mass spectrometers, thus enabling wide usage of U-Pb radioisotope dating.
However, problems remain in the interpretation of the measured Pb isotopic ratios to transform them into ages.
So the Pb isotope ratios measured in these rocks today must be interpreted before their U-Pb ages can be calculated.
Various methods have been devised to determine this initial or common Pb, but all involve making unprovable assumptions.
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