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USGS CMG InfoBank: Radioactivity

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Comment: 18:06 - 18:55 (00:49)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 10. Geologic Time
Keywords: isotope, radioisotope, radioactivity, element, "absolute age dating"

Our transcription: Each element can be separated into isotopes, groups of atoms with similar atomic structure, though slightly different mass.
Some isotopes are radioactive and, therefore, unstable.
This instability causes the atoms to radiate energy, much of it in the form of electrically charged particles.
The radiation gradually causes the element to disintegrate or decay transforming the original radioactive isotope or "parent" into a stable isotope known as a "daughter" product.
It is this process of decay that we call "radioactivity."

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