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Isotopes participate in the same chemical reactions but often at differing rates.When isotopes are to be designated specifically, the chemical symbol is expanded to identify the mass (for example, C is not stable.

Since Nitrogen gas makes up about 78 percent of the Earth's air, by volume, a considerable amount of Carbon-14 is produced.

Age determinations can also be obtained from carbonate deposits such as calcite, dissolved carbon dioxide, and carbonates in ocean, lake, and groundwater sources.

Cosmic rays enter the earth's atmosphere in large numbers every day and when one collides with an atom in the atmosphere, it can create a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron.

Ninety-nine percent of these also contain six neutrons.

The 6 proton 6 neutron atoms are said to have a mass of 12 and are referred to as "carbon-12." The nuclei of the remaining one percent of carbon atoms contain not six but either seven or eight neutrons in addition to the standard six protons.

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