Radiogenic Strontium-87 as an Index of Geologic Processes

Science  14 Jun 1963:
Vol. 140, Issue 3572, pp. 1214-1217
DOI: 10.1126/science.140.3572.1214-a


The abundance of radiogenic Sr87 relative to Sr86 at the time of crystallization has been determined for 45 rocks. The total range in the ratio Sr87/Sr86 is less than 2 percent. Ratios for recent lavas range from 0.702 to 0.711. Oceanic basalts are closely grouped at 0.703, whereas ratios for continental volcanic rocks spread from 0.702 to 0.711. Among the volcanic rocks, ranging from basalt to rhyolite, no correlation was found between original ratio and rock type. Older mafic and felsic rocks that include both plutonic and extrusive types also cover this same range in original Sr87/Sr86 ratios; however, there is a definite trend with geologic time. Precambrian rocks give values as low as 0.700. The data indicate that Sr87/Sr86 of the weathering crust has changed 1.1 percent in 3000 million years, while the ratio in the mantle has changed no more than 0.5 percent.