Rubidium-strontium dating

Updated 8 January c Introduction In a related article on geologic ages Ages , we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages. In a separate article Radiometric dating , we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques. As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas. Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades. The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples. Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data after certain preliminary calculations are made are fitted to a straight line an “isochron” by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics. The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date. Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating. Here is one example of an isochron, based on measurements of basaltic meteorites in this case the resulting date is 4. Reliability of radiometric dating So, are radiometric methods foolproof?

Metals and Life Chapter 9

Potassium to Argon Dating 1. It is assumed molten rock contains no argon gas, because gas escapes from the liquid rock. When the rock cools and turns solid some of the unstable 40K decays into 40Ar.

With rubidium-strontium dating, we see that rubidium decays into strontium with a half-life of 50 billion years. By anyone’s standards, 50 billion years is a long time. By anyone’s standards.

The Radiometric Dating Game Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium. On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.

We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous. This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points.

Since there doesn’t seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate. However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old.

If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question. After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found. I believe that there is a great need for this information to be made known, so I am making this article available in the hopes that it will enlighten others who are considering these questions.

Even the creationist accounts that I have read do not adequately treat these issues.

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1. geological dating based on the proportions of radioactive rubidium into its decay product strontium; radioactive rubidium has a half-life of 47,,, years Familiarity information: RUBIDIUM-STRONTIUM DATING used as a noun is very rare.

Rubidium silver iodide RbAg4I5 has the highest room temperature conductivity of any known ionic crystal , a property exploited in thin film batteries and other applications. Rubidium forms salts with halides, producing rubidium fluoride , rubidium chloride , rubidium bromide , and rubidium iodide. Isotopes of rubidium Although rubidium is monoisotopic , rubidium in the Earth’s crust is composed of two isotopes: It readily substitutes for potassium in minerals , and is therefore fairly widespread.

Rb has been used extensively in dating rocks ; 87Rb beta decays to stable 87Sr. During fractional crystallization , Sr tends to concentrate in plagioclase , leaving Rb in the liquid phase. The highest ratios 10 or more occur in pegmatites. The dates indicate the true age of the minerals only if the rocks have not been subsequently altered see rubidium—strontium dating. With a half-life of 76 seconds, rubidium decays by positron emission to stable krypton Lepidolite contains between 0.

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January Fossils provide a record of the history of life. Smith is known as the Father of English Geology. Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods. Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.

Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.

The rubidium-strontium pair is often used for dating and has a non-radiogenic isotope, strontium, which can be used as a check on original concentrations of the isotopes. This process is often used along with potassium-argon dating on the same rocks.

Radioactive decay[ edit ] Example of a radioactive decay chain from lead Pb to lead Pb. The final decay product, lead Pb , is stable and can no longer undergo spontaneous radioactive decay. All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements , each with its own atomic number , indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus. Additionally, elements may exist in different isotopes , with each isotope of an element differing in the number of neutrons in the nucleus.

A particular isotope of a particular element is called a nuclide. Some nuclides are inherently unstable. That is, at some point in time, an atom of such a nuclide will undergo radioactive decay and spontaneously transform into a different nuclide. This transformation may be accomplished in a number of different ways, including alpha decay emission of alpha particles and beta decay electron emission, positron emission, or electron capture.

Another possibility is spontaneous fission into two or more nuclides. While the moment in time at which a particular nucleus decays is unpredictable, a collection of atoms of a radioactive nuclide decays exponentially at a rate described by a parameter known as the half-life , usually given in units of years when discussing dating techniques. After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a “daughter” nuclide or decay product.

In many cases, the daughter nuclide itself is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain , eventually ending with the formation of a stable nonradioactive daughter nuclide; each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life. In these cases, usually the half-life of interest in radiometric dating is the longest one in the chain, which is the rate-limiting factor in the ultimate transformation of the radioactive nuclide into its stable daughter.

Potassium Element Facts

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Rubidium/Strontium Dating of Meteorites The study of the rubidium/strontium isotopic ratios in a set of meteorite samples shows the general approach to this kind of radioactive dating. The isotope 87 Rb decays into the ground state of 87 Sr with a half-life of x 10 10 years and a maximum b – .

Example[ edit ] 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.

Rubidium strontium age dating

See this page in: Hungarian , Russian , Spanish People who ask about carbon 14C dating usually want to know about the radiometric [1] dating methods that are claimed to give millions and billions of years—carbon dating can only give thousands of years. People wonder how millions of years could be squeezed into the biblical account of history.

Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the origin of sin, death and suffering —the reason Jesus came into the world See Six Days?

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 isotope, strontium).

Davy on the bellows at a public demonstration of science at the Royal Institution in London. Image by James Gillray. Sodium and then potassium reacting with water. Discovery of Potassium Dr. Doug Stewart In English chemist Sir Humphry Davy discovered that chemical bonding was electrical in nature and that he could use electricity to split substances into their basic building blocks — the chemical elements. In he isolated potassium for the first time at the Royal Institution, London.

He electrolyzed dried potassium hydroxide potash which he had very slightly moistened by exposing it to the moist air in his laboratory.

Decay & Half Life

References Generic Radiometric Dating The simplest form of isotopic age computation involves substituting three measurements into an equation of four variables, and solving for the fourth. The equation is the one which describes radioactive decay: The variables in the equation are: Pnow – The quantity of the parent isotope that remains now.

This is measured directly.

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.

Export PDF Rubidium has an ionic radius sufficiently close to that of potassium so that it can substitute for the latter in all potassium-bearing minerals. Hence, it occurs as a dispersed element forming measurable parts of micas, potassium feldspar, some clay minerals and evaporites. Two isotopes occur in nature, namely 85Rb and the the long-lived radioactive 87Rb with isotopic abundances of The decay process is: The abundance of 87Sr varies however, reflecting the formation of radiogenic 87Sr by the decay of 87Rb.

The growth of radiogenic 87Sr in a rubidium-enriched mineral over a time interval t is given by the following expression: An equation for age determination has been presented and based on real isochrons. When a rock cools, all of its minerals have the same ratio of 87Sr to strontium though they will have varying amounts of rubidium. As the rock ages, rubidium decreases by changing to 87Sr.

This ratio is about 0. Values at this boundary have been given as 1. The age of the rock is determinable from the slope of the isochron. This slope is a monotonic function of the age of the rock and the older the rock, the steeper the line.

Rubidium-strontium dating

The baby’s early death after delivery was anticipated because during the pregnancy a rare abnormality had been detected. Anencephaly was a lethal condition in which the brain and skull would not properly develop. Teddy’s twin was born healthy, but it was known Teddy’s life would be extremely short. Arrangements had been made in advance by the parents to permit donation of his kidneys and heart valves. Surgery began three minutes after death at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.

Rubidium has a very short half-life of 76 seconds, and the production from decay of strontium must be done close to the patient. [48] Rubidium was tested .

These are K-Ar data obtained on glauconite, a potassium-bearing clay mineral that forms in some marine sediment. Woodmorappe fails to mention, however, that these data were obtained as part of a controlled experiment to test, on samples of known age, the applicability of the K-Ar method to glauconite and to illite, another clay mineral. He also neglects to mention that most of the 89 K-Ar ages reported in their study agree very well with the expected ages.

Evernden and others 43 found that these clay minerals are extremely susceptible to argon loss when heated even slightly, such as occurs when sedimentary rocks are deeply buried. As a result, glauconite is used for dating only with extreme caution. The ages from the Coast Range batholith in Alaska Table 2 are referenced by Woodmorappe to a report by Lanphere and others Whereas Lanphere and his colleagues referred to these two K-Ar ages of and million years, the ages are actually from another report and were obtained from samples collected at two localities in Canada, not Alaska.

There is nothing wrong with these ages; they are consistent with the known geologic relations and represent the crystallization ages of the Canadian samples. The Liberian example Table 2 is from a report by Dalrymple and others These authors studied dikes of basalt that intruded Precambrian crystalline basement rocks and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks in western Liberia. The dikes cutting the Precambrian basement gave K-Ar ages ranging from to million years Woodmorappe erroneously lists this higher age as million years , whereas those cutting the Mesozoic sedimentary rocks gave K-Ar ages of from to million years.

Woodmorappe does not mention that the experiments in this study were designed such that the anomalous results were evident, the cause of the anomalous results was discovered, and the crystallization ages of the Liberian dikes were unambiguously determined. The Liberian study is, in fact, an excellent example of how geochronologists design experiments so that the results can be checked and verified.

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