Radiometric dating is possible if a rock contains

For example lavas dated by K-Ar that are historic in age, usually show 1 to 2 my old ages due to trapped Ar.Such trapped Ar is not problematical when the age of the rock is in hundreds of millions of years.

Another such application is the tagging of molecules with radioisotopes in order to investigate biological pathways, such as metabolism.

Sedimentary rock is composed of the weathered remains of a variety of rocks of all ages.

Nd ratios on several minerals with a mass spectrometer and then from the slope determine the age of the rock. If a magma cools quickly on the surface of the Earth, some of the Ar may be trapped.

The initial ratio has particular importance for studying the chemical evolution of the Earth's mantle and crust, as we discussed in the section on igneous rocks. If this happens, then the date obtained will be older than the date at which the magma erupted.

An event like metamorphism could heat the crystal to the point where Pb will become mobile.