Rb sr dating problems

This makes mineral isochrons for the Rb-Sr decay sequence rare and is the reason most isochrons in the literature for this dating method use whole-rock isochrons.What are the critical assumptions that go into this dating method?

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So essentially, this methodology assumes that all this assumption is critically flawed.

If we assume that the rock formation cooled slowly enough for all elements within it to reach chemical and physical equilibrium, then the whole-rock samples of the formation should have the same concentrations of each element in a given sample.

To provide context for Part 4, below is a summary of the first three articles—all are available online. There are significant problems with radioisotope dating in general.

The critical closed-system assumption is not realistic—no system can remain unaffected by its environment over millions of years.

When they do occur in rock samples, they are usually in such small amounts that they cannot be seen without a microscope (see Figure 1).

Therefore, separating the element from the rock sample is difficult.

Determining the half-life of Rb presents scientists with a challenge for two reasons.

First is the extremely long half-life of Rb, and second is because Rb beta decays with a relatively small energy of 275 ke V.

The third basic assumption is that the initial concentration of the daughter isotope can be derived by applying the isochron method to a group of rock samples in the present time.

There are a number of critical secondary assumptions hidden in this third basic assumption: Assumptions 2 through 5 are related to the closed-system assumption and come into play in the Rb-Sr isochron methodology through assumptions made in deriving the time evolving linear equation fundamental to the method. If the temperature of the rock formation goes above the closure temperature, then the strontium and rubidium atoms are essentially free to move within the rock formation and interact with their environment, thus disrupting the presumed initial isotope ratios.


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