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Rb-Sr dating relies on correctly measuring the Rb-Sr ratio of a mineral or whole rock sample, plus deriving an accurate 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.
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.
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.
The age of a sample is determined by analysing several minerals within the sample. If these form a straight line then the samples are consistent, and the age probably reliable.
The slope of the line dictates the age of the sample.
The ideal scenario according to Bowen's reaction series would see a granite melt begin crystallizing a cumulate assemblage of plagioclase and hornblende (i.e.; tonalite or diorite), which is low in K (and hence Rb) but high in Sr (as this substitutes for Ca), which proportionally enriches the melt in K and Rb.
This then causes orthoclase and biotite, both K rich minerals into which Rb can substitute, to precipitate.
Development of this process was aided by German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, who later went on to discover nuclear fission in December 1938.
The utility of the rubidium–strontium isotope system results from the fact that Sr with a half-life of 48.8 billion years.
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.
Since 1955, most Zippo lighters have carried a date code stamped on the base.