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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.

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Radiometric or Absolute Rock Dating

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The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History. Read More on This Topic. The radioactive decay of rubidium 87Rb to strontium 87Sr was the first widely used dating system that utilized Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.

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The radioactive decay of rubidium 87 Rb to strontium 87 Sr was the first widely used dating system that utilized the isochron method. Rubidium-strontium Rb-Sr dating was the first technique in which the whole-rock isochron method was extensively employed.

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Certain rocks that cooled quickly at the surface were found to give precisely defined linear isochrons, but many others did not. Some studies have shown that rubidium is very.

For example, the concentrations of rubidium and the strontium into which it decays, or those of samarium and its decay product neodymium, indicate that the oldest meteorites formed some 4.

The radioactive decay of rubidium 87 Rb to strontium 87 Sr was the first widely used dating system that utilized the isochron method.

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Because rubidium is concentrated in crustal rocks, the continents have a much higher abundance of the daughter isotope strontium compared with the stable isotopes. A ratio for average continental crust of about 0.

This difference may appear small, but, considering that modern instruments can make the determination to a few parts in 70, it is quite significant. Dissolved strontium in the oceans today has a value of 0. Thus, if well-dated, unaltered fossil shells containing strontium from ancient seawater are analyzed, changes in this ratio with time can be observed and applied in reverse to estimate the time when fossils of unknown age were deposited.

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The rubidium-strontium pair is ideally suited for the isochron dating of igneous rocks. As a liquid rock cools, first one mineral and then another achieves saturation and precipitates, each extracting specific elements in the process.

Rubidium-Strontium dating: The nuclide rubidium decays, with a half life of billion years, to strontium Strontium is a stable element; it does not undergo further radioactive decay. (Do not confuse with the highly radioactive. rubidium-strontium dating A method of dating geological specimens based on the decay of the radioisotope rubidium into the stable isotope strontium- Natural rubidium contains of rubidium, which has a half-life of ? 10 11 years. The ratio 87 Rb/ 87 Sr in a specimen gives an estimate of its age (up to several thousand million years). Rubidium strontium dating method As uranium, using calcite and potassium. Information and as the cardenas basalt layer is the and strontium 87 had both rubidium and .

Strontium is extracted in many minerals that are formed early, whereas rubidium is gradually concentrated in the final liquid phase. In practice, rock samples weighing several kilograms each are collected from a suite of rocks that are believed to have been part of a single homogeneous liquid prior to solidification. The samples are crushed and homogenized to produce a fine representative rock powder from which a fraction of a gram is withdrawn and dissolved in the presence of appropriate isotopic traces, or spikes.

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Strontium and rubidium are extracted and loaded into the mass spectrometer, and the values appropriate to the x and y coordinates are calculated from the isotopic ratios measured. Once plotted as R1 p i.

The radioactive decay of rubidium (87 Rb) to strontium (87 Sr) was the first widely used dating system that utilized the isochron method. Rubidium is a relatively abundant trace element in Earth's crust and can be found in many common rock-forming minerals in which it substitutes for the major element potassium. Because rubidium is concentrated in crustal rocks, the continents have a much higher . 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.

Using estimates of measurement precision, the crucial question of whether or not scatter outside of measurement error exists is addressed. Such scatter would constitute a geologic component, indicating that one or more of the underlying assumptions has been violated and that the age indicated is probably not valid.

For an isochron to be valid, each sample tested must 1 have had the same initial ratio, 2 have been a closed system over geologic time, and 3 have the same age.

Well-preserved, unweathered rocks that crystallized rapidly and have not been subjected to major reheating events are most likely to give valid isochrons.

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