Carbon 14 dating explanation

Protons and neutrons make up the center (nucleus) of the atom, and electrons form shells around the nucleus.The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element.

An “isotope” is any of several different forms of an element, each having different numbers of neutrons.

Recall that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter.

Atoms are made up of much smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons.

The illustration below shows the three isotopes of carbon.

Some isotopes of certain elements are unstable; they can spontaneously change into another kind of atom in a process called “radioactive decay.” Since this process presently happens at a known measured rate, scientists attempt to use it like a “clock” to tell how long ago a rock or fossil formed.

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