Rubidium-87 radiometric dating

Rubidium-strontium dating , method of estimating the age of rocks, minerals, and meteorites from measurements of the amount of the stable isotope strontium formed by the decay of the unstable isotope rubidium that was present in the rock at the time of its formation. Rubidium comprises The method is applicable to very old rocks because the transformation is extremely slow: Most minerals that contain rubidium also have some strontium incorporated when the mineral was formed, so a correction must be made for this initial amount of strontium to obtain the radiogenic increment i.

Rubidium-strontium dating

The rubidium-strontium dating method is a radiometric dating technique used by scientists to determine the age of rocks and minerals from the quantities they contain of specific isotopes of rubidium 87 Rb and strontium 87 Sr, 86 Sr. Development of this process was aided by German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann , who later went on to discover nuclear fission in December The utility of the rubidium — strontium isotope system results from the fact that 87 Rb one of two naturally occurring isotopes of rubidium decays to 87 Sr with a half-life of In addition, Rb is a highly incompatible element that, during partial melting of the mantle, prefers to join the magmatic melt rather than remain in mantle minerals.

As a result, Rb is enriched in crustal rocks. The radiogenic daughter, 87 Sr, is produced in this decay process and was produced in rounds of stellar nucleosynthesis predating the creation of the Solar System. During fractional crystallization , Sr tends to become concentrated in plagioclase , leaving Rb in the liquid phase. Highest ratios 10 or higher occur in pegmatites. For example, consider the case of an igneous rock such as a granite that contains several major Sr-bearing minerals including plagioclase feldspar , K-feldspar , hornblende , biotite , and muscovite.

Rubidium substitutes for potassium within the lattice of minerals at a rate proportional to its concentration within the melt. The ideal scenario according to Bowen's reaction series would see a granite melt begin crystallizing a cumulate assemblage of plagioclase and hornblende i. This then causes orthoclase and biotite, both K rich minerals into which Rb can substitute, to precipitate. The resulting Rb-Sr ratios and Rb and Sr abundances of both the whole rocks and their component minerals will be markedly different.

This, thus, allows a different rate of radiogenic Sr to evolve in the separate rocks and their component minerals as time progresses. The age of a sample is determined by analysing several minerals within multiple subsamples from different parts of the original sample. If these form a straight line then the subsamples are consistent, and the age probably reliable.

The slope of the line dictates the age of the sample. Several preconditions must be satisfied before a Rb-Sr date can be considered as representing the time of emplacement or formation of a rock. One of the major drawbacks and, conversely, the most important use of utilizing Rb and Sr to derive a radiometric date is their relative mobility, especially in hydrothermal fluids. Rb and Sr are relatively mobile alkaline elements and as such are relatively easily moved around by the hot, often carbonated hydrothermal fluids present during metamorphism or magmatism.

Conversely, these fluids may metasomatically alter a rock, introducing new Rb and Sr into the rock generally during potassic alteration or calcic albitisation alteration. Rb-Sr can then be used on the altered mineralogy to date the time of this alteration, but not the date at which the rock formed. Thus, assigning age significance to a result requires studying the metasomatic and thermal history of the rock, any metamorphic events, and any evidence of fluid movement. A Rb-Sr date which is at variance with other geochronometers may not be useless, it may be providing data on an event which is not representing the age of formation of the rock.

The Rb-Sr dating method has been used extensively in dating terrestrial and lunar rocks, and meteorites. The dates indicate the true age of the minerals only if the rocks have not been subsequently altered. Although this is a potential source of error for terrestrial rocks, it is irrelevant for lunar rocks and meteorites, as there are no chemical weathering reactions in those environments.

The application of Sr isotope stratigraphy is generally limited to carbonate samples for which the Sr seawater curve is well defined. This is well known for the Cenozoic time-scale but, due to poorer preservation of carbonate sequences in the Mesozoic and earlier, it is not completely understood for older sequences. In older sequences diagenetic alteration combined with greater uncertainties in estimating absolute ages due to lack of overlap between other geochronometers for example U—Th leads to greater uncertainties in the exact shape of the Sr isotope seawater curve.

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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rb-Sr dating. The Wikibook Historical Geology has a page on the topic of: Rb-Sr dating.

Radiometric dating is a means of determining the "age" of a mineral The nuclide rubidium decays, with a half life of billion years, to strontium Radiometric dating Rubidium comprises percent of the total atomic abundance of rubidium, and of the four dating: Rubidium–strontium method.

A technician of the U. Geological Survey uses a mass spectrometer to determine the proportions of neodymium isotopes contained in a sample of igneous rock. Cloth wrappings from a mummified bull Samples taken from a pyramid in Dashur, Egypt. This date agrees with the age of the pyramid as estimated from historical records.

Much of our understanding of the ancient history of our planet comes from radioisotope dating, a process where scientists calculate the amount of certain isotopes in a geological sample to determine how old it is. But according to new research out of North Carolina State University, a flaw in this widely-used technique may be skewing the results so samples seem much older than they really are.

Rubidium has two isotopes 85 Rb When a mineral crystallizes, it will usually incorporate both rubidium and strontium ions and the ratio of Rb to Sr will vary depending on the mineral involved. Using these proportions it is possible to identify the amount of radiogenic 87 Sr present.

We might be overestimating the age of ancient rocks

Petrology Tulane University Prof. Stephen A. Nelson Radiometric Dating Prior to the best and most accepted age of the Earth was that proposed by Lord Kelvin based on the amount of time necessary for the Earth to cool to its present temperature from a completely liquid state. Although we now recognize lots of problems with that calculation, the age of 25 my was accepted by most physicists, but considered too short by most geologists. Then, in , radioactivity was discovered.

RADIOMETRIC TIME SCALE

The rubidium-strontium dating method is a radiometric dating technique used by scientists to determine the age of rocks and minerals from the quantities they contain of specific isotopes of rubidium 87 Rb and strontium 87 Sr, 86 Sr. Development of this process was aided by German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann , who later went on to discover nuclear fission in December The utility of the rubidium — strontium isotope system results from the fact that 87 Rb one of two naturally occurring isotopes of rubidium decays to 87 Sr with a half-life of In addition, Rb is a highly incompatible element that, during partial melting of the mantle, prefers to join the magmatic melt rather than remain in mantle minerals. As a result, Rb is enriched in crustal rocks. The radiogenic daughter, 87 Sr, is produced in this decay process and was produced in rounds of stellar nucleosynthesis predating the creation of the Solar System. During fractional crystallization , Sr tends to become concentrated in plagioclase , leaving Rb in the liquid phase. Highest ratios 10 or higher occur in pegmatites.

Science in Christian Perspective. Radiometric Dating.

Radiometric dating is a means of determining the "age" of a mineral specimen by determining the relative amounts present of certain radioactive elements. By "age" we mean the elapsed time from when the mineral specimen was formed. Radioactive elements "decay" that is, change into other elements by "half lives. The formula for the fraction remaining is one-half raised to the power given by the number of years divided by the half-life in other words raised to a power equal to the number of half-lives.

Rubidium–strontium dating

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Radioactive Dating
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