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The resulting Rb-Sr ratios and Rb and Sr abundances of both the whole rocks and their component minerals will be markedly different.
This, thus, allows a different rate of radiogenic Sr to evolve in the separate rocks and their component minerals as time progresses.
The slope of the line dictates the age of the sample.
Thus, assigning age significance to a result requires studying the metasomatic and thermal history of the rock, any metamorphic events, and any evidence of fluid movement.
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.
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.