Dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating

The top number is the Mass Number for each isotope.The Mass Number for any isotope is the addition of all the protons and neutrons in the nucleus.Notice that the farther away the Mass Number gets from 12-13, the faster they break down (The blue numbers indicate half-lives, the time it takes for one half of the atoms in a sample to break down.).So the farther the carbon is from the norm, the more unstable it is. They have too many neutrons so they breakdown, releasing a beta particle which effectively converts a neutron into a proton.About 21 pounds of Nitrogen is converted each year making about 1/trillion atmospheric carbon atoms radioactive C.Then an age can be obtained for the organic material.Since protons and neutrons weigh about the same, the atomic mass of ordinary carbon is 6 6 = 12.


The fact that it has seven protons is what makes it nitrogen.Three of the Carbon isotopes (C) are found in nature.


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