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Was Rb-87 or Sr-87 added to the rock by some unknown process?Was one of them removed from the rock by some unknown process?As someone who has studied radioactivity in detail, I have always been a bit amused by the assertion that radioactive dating is a precise way to determine the age of an object.
Thus, it provides an independent analysis of the rock that does not depend on the radioactive decay that is being studied.It refers to one specific source of error – the uncertainty in the measurement of the amounts of various atoms used in the analysis.Most likely, that is the least important source of error.Sr-86 diffuses more quickly than Sr-87, and that has never been taken into account when isochrons are analyzed. Perhaps, but it’s rather tricky, because the rate of diffusion depends on the specific chemical and physical environment of each individual rock.If the effects of diffusion can be taken into account, it will require an elaborate model that will most certainly require elaborate assumptions. Hayes suggests a couple of other approaches that might work, but its not clear how well. If you believe the earth is very old, then most likely, all of the radioactive dates based on isochrons are probably overestimates. I have no idea, and I don’t think anyone else does, either. Hayes’s model indicates it could add as much as 29 billion years to ages determined with rubidium and strontium, although his model is rather simplistic.