To see how we actually use this information to date rocks, consider the following: Usually, we know the amount, N, of an isotope present today, and the amount of a daughter element produced by decay, D*.By definition, D* = N-1) (2) Now we can calculate the age if we know the number of daughter atoms produced by decay, D* and the number of parent atoms now present, N.Sr ratios in minerals and rocks have values ranging from about 0.7 to greater than 4.0 (Faure, 1986).The utility of the rubidium-strontium isotope system results from the fact that different minerals in a given geologic setting can have distinctly different Sr.Thus, if we start out with 1 gram of the parent isotope, after the passage of 1 half-life there will be 0.5 gram of the parent isotope left.After the passage of two half-lives only 0.25 gram will remain, and after 3 half lives only 0.125 will remain etc.The only problem is that we only know the number of daughter atoms now present, and some of those may have been present prior to the start of our clock. The reason for this is that Rb has become distributed unequally through the Earth over time.We can see how do deal with this if we take a particular case. For example the amount of Rb in mantle rocks is generally low, i.e. The mantle thus has a low If these two independent dates are the same, we say they are concordant.
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.Because rubidium is concentrated in crustal rocks, the continents have a much higher abundance of the daughter isotope strontium-87 compared with the stable isotopes.This relative abundance is expressed as the Sr ratio, where strontium-86 is chosen to represent the stable isotopes strontium-88, strontium-86, and strontium-84, which occur in constant proportions in natural materials.Sr is the parameter typically reported in geologic investigations; however, some hydrogeochemists report values in "delta" units.
Because Sr has an atomic radius similar to that of Ca, it readily substitutes for Ca in minerals.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.