Another method is to make age measurements on several samples from the same rock unit.
This technique helps identify post-formation geologic disturbances because different minerals respond differently to heating and chemical changes.
Such failures may be due to laboratory errors (mistakes happen), unrecognized geologic factors (nature sometimes fools us), or misapplication of the techniques (no one is perfect).
We scientists who measure isotope ages do not rely entirely on the error estimates and the self-checking features of age diagnostic diagrams to evaluate the accuracy of radiometric ages.
In a separate article (Radiometric dating), we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques.Also, as the authors of the 1968 article were careful to explain, xenoliths cannot be dated by the K-Ar method because of excess argon in bubbles trapped inside [Dalrymple2006].Thus in this case, as in many others that have been raised by skeptics of old-earth geology, the "anomaly" is more imaginary than real.Over a thousand papers on radiometric dating were published in scientifically recognized journals in the last year, and hundreds of thousands of dates have been published in the last 50 years.Essentially all of these strongly favor an old Earth.A recent survey of the rubidium-strontium method found only about 30 cases, out of tens of thousands of published results, where a date determined using the proper procedures was subsequently found to be in error.One question that sometimes arises here is how can scientists assume that rates of radioactivity have been constant over the great time spans involved.As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas.Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades.The isochron techniques are partly based on this principle.The use of different dating methods on the same rock is an excellent way to check the accuracy of age results.