The rubidium-strontium (Rb–Sr) method is used to determine ages of geologic events, and it serves as a tracer of geochemical processes. The method is based upon the radioactive decay of Rb, which is present in trace abundances (but never as a major element) in many common minerals. 87Rb transforms by β−decay, with a half-life of 48.8 × 109 years, to the stable daughter isotope 87Sr. A quantity related to the half-life is the decay constnat λ, which is the probability that any given parent atom will decay during the next unit of time. For 87Rb, λ = 1.42 × 10−11/year. Because of the extremely long half-life, only about 6% of primordial 87Rb has decayed since the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago. Table R7 characterizes the naturally-occurring Rb and Sr isotopes.
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Long, L.E. (1998). Rubidium-Strontium method. In: Geochemistry. Encyclopedia of Earth Science. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-4496-8_279
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