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Conversely, these fluids may metasomatically alter a rock, introducing new Rb and Sr into the rock (generally during potassic alteration or calcic (albitisation) alteration.

Rb-Sr can then be used on the altered mineralogy to date the time of this alteration, but not the date at which the rock formed.

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.

However, because Rb substitutes for K in minerals and these minerals have different K/Ca ratios, the minerals will have had different Rb/Sr ratios.

During fractional crystallization, Sr tends to become concentrated in plagioclase, leaving Rb in the liquid phase.

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Each of these minerals has a different initial rubidium/strontium ratio dependent on their potassium content, the concentration of Rb and K in the melt and the temperature at which the minerals formed.