Radioactive dating isotopes used

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Isotopes are alternative “versions” of elements that have a different atomic mass but the same atomic number.

The atomic number of an element is simply the number of protons present in its atom, while atomic mass depends on how many neutrons it has.

Radioactive isotopes find uses in agriculture, food industry, pest control, archeology and medicine.

Scientists classify radioactive isotopes according to their creation process: long-lived, cosmogenic, anthropogenic and radiogenic.

Long-lived radioactive isotopes emerged during the creation of the solar system, while cosmogenic radioactive isotopes occur as a reaction of the atmosphere to cosmic rays emitted by stars.

The development of radiocarbon dating has had a profound impact on archaeology.

In addition to permitting more accurate dating within archaeological sites than previous methods, it allows comparison of dates of events across great distances.

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