Cosmogenic nuclide dating

Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.

To understand radiocarbon dating, you first have to understand the word Although an element’s number of protons cannot change, the number of neutrons can vary slightly from each atom.

However, the term is used more specifically for all naturally occurring radioactive materials where human activities have increased the potential for exposure compared with the unaltered situation.

Concentrations of actual radionuclides may or may not have been increased; if they have, the term Technologically-Enhanced (TENORM) may be used.

A parent isotope is one that undergoes decay to form a daughter isotope.

Decay stages are referred to by their relationship to previous or subsequent stages.

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