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STRONTIUM ISOTOPES

Why and how it is used in estimating stratigraphic position of carbonates and evaporites

Review by B.C. Schreiber

ONE OF THE MOST USEFUL, CONSERVATIVE, AND STABLE ELEMENTS FOR ISOTOPIC STUDY IN SEDIMENTARY ROCKS (CARBONATES AND EVAPORITES) IT HAS BEEN TREATED AS A GEOLOGICAL “TRACER”

RESIDENCE TIME OF STRONTIUM IN THE OCEANS >2 M.Y. MIXING TIME OF STRONTIUM IN THE OCEANS ~103 YEARS

BACKGROUND During fractional crystallization. leaving Rb in the liquid phase. biotite. Highest ratios occur in pegmatites. Typically. resulting in rocks with increasing Rb/Sr ratios with increasing differentiation. Sr tends to be come concentrated in the first minerals to crystallize. muscovite. Rb/Sr increases in the order plagioclase. K-feldspar. increasing in the same order. the age can be determined by measurement of the Rb and Sr concentrations and 87Sr/86Sr ratio. Hence. The dates indicate the true age of the minerals only if the rocks have not been subsequently altered. . given sufficient time for significant production (ingrowth) of radiogenic 87Sr. hornblende. If the initial amount of Sr is known or can be extrapolated. Therefore. measured 87Sr/86Sr values will be different in the minerals. the Rb/Sr ratio in residual magma may increase over time. The Rb-Sr dating method has been used extensively in dating rocks.

0%) (7.56%).4 4 stable stable naturally naturally occurring occurring isotopes isotopes 84 84Sr 86Sr 87Sr Sr (0. 81 Sr (7. 86 Sr (9.86%).58%) .58%).56%). (9. (82.86%).0%) and and 88 88 Sr Sr(82. (0.

Strontium is present as a ubiquitous minor element in the crust of the Earth – .

Strontium is present as a ubiquitous minor element in the crust of the Earth – Present in many rock types. .

Strontium is present as a ubiquitous minor element in the crust of the Earth – Present in many rock types. Typically found in concentrations of a few hundred parts per million .

87Sr 87Rb half-life of 48.000 years .800.

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4 4 stable stable naturally naturally occurring occurring isotopes isotopes 84 84Sr 86Sr 87Sr Sr (0. (0. (9. 81 Sr (7.58%). (82.56%).86%). 86 Sr (9.58%) .56%).0%) and and 88 88 Sr Sr(82.86%).0%) (7.

87Sr (7.0%) and 88Sr (82.56%).4 stable naturally occurring isotopes 84Sr (0. 86Sr (9.86%).58%) .

.Capo et al. 1998 .

SOURCES OF Sr From radioactive decay of 87Rb 85Rb = 72. IGNEOUS PROCESSES CONCENTRATE RUBIDUM IN THE RESIDUAL MELT SO THE LATER FORMED MINERALS CONTAIN MORE AND MORE RUBIDIUM .165% 87Rb = 27.834% IN A MAGMA.

NOW HIGHER ON EARTH due to the decay of 87Rb Faure. value derived from meteorites.699. 1991 .Primordial 87Sr/86Sr ratio of 0.

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WEATHERING WEATHERING First to First to Crystallize Crystallize Fast Weathering Bowen’s Reaction Series Goldrich Stability Series Last to Last to Last to Crystallize Crystallize Crystallize Slow Weathering .

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CONTESSA QUARRY marine carbonates .

7092 .Modern seawater = 87Sr/86Sr = 0.

CONTROLLED BY THE EXTENT THE Sr2+ CAN SUBSTITUTE FOR Ca2+ IN CALCIUM BEARING MINERALS .

86Sr and 88Sr (2) radioactive decay of 87Rb. .Two sources of 87Sr in any material: (1) formed primordial nucleo-synthesis along with 84Sr.

The ratio 87Sr/86Sr is the parameter typically reported in geologic investigations .

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Elderfield. 1986 .

PRESENT DAY SPREADING CENTERS .

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WHAT EFFECT DOES RAPID/SLOW SEAFLOOR SPREADING HAVE ? .

.Based on results of Alt et al. 1986.

WHAT DOES RAPID SEA FLOOR SPREADING DO TO THE OCEANS? .

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Elderfield. 1986 .

Visser. 1989 .

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Sr IN GYPSUM REMAINS WITHIN SULPHATE EVEN WHEN IT DEHYDRATES BUT WHEN IT REHYDRATES. MUCH Sr IS LOST ALSO WHEN ARAGONITE GOES TO CALCITE MUCH Sr IS LOST .

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CONTESSA QUARRY marine carbonates .

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Sr tends to be come concentrated in the first minerals to crystallize. hornblende. increasing in the same order. muscovite. K-feldspar. biotite. leaving Rb in the liquid phase. given sufficient time for significant production (ingrowth) of radiogenic 87Sr.BACKGROUND During fractional crystallization. the Rb/Sr ratio in residual magma may increase over time. Therefore. the age can be determined by measurement of the Rb and Sr concentrations and 87Sr/86Sr ratio. Hence. Typically. measured 87Sr/86Sr values will be different in the minerals. Rb/Sr increases in the order plagioclase. The Rb-Sr dating method has been used extensively in dating rocks. resulting in rocks with increasing Rb/Sr ratios with increasing differentiation. If the initial amount of Sr is known or can be extrapolated. Highest ratios occur in pegmatites. The dates indicate the true age of the minerals only if the rocks have not been subsequently altered. .

. differences in the relative mobilities of water at scales ranging from inter-grain pores to the catchment scale may also profoundly affect 87Sr/86Sr (Bullen et al. the chemical composition and the resultant 87Sr/86Sr in immobile waters at a plagioclase-hornblende grain boundary versus a quartz-mica boundary will be different from eachother. 1996). For example. .Secondly.

Instead. "poisoning" of reactive surfaces by organic coatings is an example of this kind of process. In a fundamental sense. a difference in the relative "effective" surface areas of minerals in one portion o f the rock unit will also cause differences in chemistry and isotopic composition. because the waters in shallow systems are not in chemical equilibrium with the rocks.Third. the waters moving along specific flowpaths slowly react with the rocks and gradually approach . it is unrealistic to expect that waters along flowpaths within even a constant-mineralogy unit should have a constant 87Sr/86Sr.

Therefore. differences in 87Sr/86Sr among ground waters require either (a) differences in mineralogy along contrasting flowpaths. or (b) differences in the relative amounts of Sr weathered from the same suite of minerals. .The important concept for isotopic tracing is that Sr derived from any mineral through weathering reactions will have the same 87Sr/86Sr as the mineral itself.