Potassium dating rocks


Strata Thickness- In the late 1800s, a British geologist estimated that 75 million years has lapsed since the beginning of the Cambrian.

This estimate was based upon the maximum known thickness of strata (from Cambrian to present) divided by the average rate of sedimentation in modern environments. Joly used the salinity of ocean water to determine the age of the earth.

In addition, Rb is a highly incompatible element that, during partial melting of the mantle, prefers to join the magmatic melt rather than remain in mantle minerals. The radiogenic daughter, Sr, is produced in this decay process and was produced in rounds of stellar nucleosynthesis predating the creation of the Solar System.

Different minerals in a given geologic setting can acquire distinctly different ratios of radiogenic strontium-87 to naturally occurring strontium-86 (Sr as the parent melt.

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.