Question: What kind of isotopes are used in radiocarbon dating?

Basic Principles of Carbon Dating Radiocarbon (carbon 14) is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. The stable isotopes are carbon 12 and carbon 13. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.

How isotopes are used in carbon dating?

Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon. Isotopes of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons. Most 14C is produced in the upper atmosphere where neutrons, which are produced by cosmic rays, react with 14N atoms.

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