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A Rb-Sr date which is at variance with other geochronometers may not be useless, it may be providing data on an event which is not representing the age of formation of the rock.

The Rb-Sr dating method has been used extensively in dating terrestrial and lunar rocks, and meteorites.

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.

In the 1950s, when mass spectrometers following Nier’s design were constructed for the isotope analysis of solids, the Rb-Sr dating method became widely used, the concentrations of these elements being determined by isotope dilution and also as a result of separation by cation exchange chromatography.

Conversely, these fluids may metasomatically alter a rock, introducing new Rb and Sr into the rock (generally during potassic alteration or calcic (albitisation) alteration.

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.

If we knew the fraction of a radioactive element still remaining in a mineral, it would be a simple matter to calculate its age by the formula To determine the fraction still remaining, we must know both the amount now present and also the amount present when the mineral was formed.

Contrary to creationist claims, it is possible to make that determination, as the following will explain: By way of background, all atoms of a given element have the same number of protons in the nucleus; however, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary.

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