Radioactive isotope dating methods


When the nucleus of an atom possesses either too many or too few neutrons  [ neutron : Uncharged sub-atomic particles, with a mass of 1 relative to a proton. ]  compared to the number of protons  [ proton : A sub-atomic particle with a positive charge and a relative mass of 1 found in the nucleus of the atom. ]  it becomes unstable . These are called radioactive isotopes . Unstable nuclei split up in a process called radioactive decay and emit radioactive radiation .

Every chemical element has one or more radioactive isotopes. For example, hydrogen , the lightest element, has three isotopes with mass numbers 1, 2, and 3. Only hydrogen-3 ( tritium ), however, is a radioactive isotope, the other two being stable. More than 1,000 radioactive isotopes of the various elements are known. Approximately 50 of these are found in nature; the rest are produced artificially as the direct products of nuclear reactions or indirectly as the radioactive descendants of these products.


Radioactive isotope dating methods

Radioactive isotope dating methods



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