Sr isotope dating

Rubidium 87 decays to Strontium 87 with a half life of xx my.

Rubidium and strontium are reasonably abundant and the decay is not branched, unlike potassium-argon.

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. The radiogenic daughter, Sr, is produced in this decay process and was produced in rounds of stellar nucleosynthesis predating the creation of the Solar System.

Different minerals in a given geologic setting can acquire distinctly different ratios of radiogenic strontium-87 to naturally occurring strontium-86 (Sr as the parent melt.

Hence, the Rb/Sr ratio in residual magma may increase over time, resulting in rocks with increasing Rb/Sr ratios with increasing differentiation. Typically, Rb/Sr increases in the order plagioclase, hornblende, K-feldspar, biotite, muscovite.

Therefore, given sufficient time for significant production (ingrowth) of radiogenic 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.

Now consider the distribution of the two strontium isotopes Sr.

Because they are chemically indistinguishable, they will appear in the same ratio in every mineral at the time when it is formed: some minerals will have more strontium, some will have less, but all must necessarily have the same The initial state of the rock may therefore be schematically represented by the graph to the right, which shows the initial states of four minerals imaginatively named A, B, C, and D.

If the sample had 100 atoms of each isotope, we could assume that 70 of the Sr-87 atoms were primordial and 30 were produced by the decay of Rb-87.In the reasoning that follows, the reader may recognize a sort of family resemblance to the reasoning behind step heating in the Ar-Ar method, although the two are not exactly alike. When an igneous rock is first formed, its minerals will contain varying concentrations of rubidium and strontium, with some minerals being high in rubidium and low in strontium, others being high in strontium and low in rubidium.We can expect these differences to be quite pronounced, because rubidium and strontium have different chemical affinities: as we have noted, rubidium substitutes for potassium, and strontium for calcium.However, because Rb substitutes for K in minerals and these minerals have different K/Ca ratios, the minerals will have had different Rb/Sr ratios.During fractional crystallization, Sr tends to become concentrated in plagioclase, leaving Rb in the liquid phase.

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