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In a given element, the number of neutrons can be different from each other, while the number of protons is not.Isotopes are atoms with the same number of protons but that have a different number of neutrons. As you can see, they have the same atomic number, or number of protons, (number at the lower left of the element) but different atomic masses (number at the upper left of the element).

Some examples of stable isotopes are isotopes of carbon, potassium, calcium and vanadium.

Anthropogenic isotopes are man-made or result from human activities, such as testing weapons and processing nuclear fuels.

These isotopes are useful in the fields of oceanography and hydrology since they can be used to study flow, currents and sedimentation rates.

Cosmogenic isotopes are formed when the atmosphere reacts with the rays emitted from stars or when geological materials on the Earth's surface are irradiated by cosmic rays directly.

Carbon-14, chlorine-36 and hydrogen-3, also known as tritium, are all cosmogenic isotopes.

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In archaeology, if an object contains carbon and we are unsure of its age, the isotope of carbon, carbon-14, is used to determine its age with a process called radiocarbon dating. Long-lived radioactive isotopes were created when the solar system was formed, and they've been present for billions of years.

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