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When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.
Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.
Others measure the subatomic particles that are emitted as an isotope decays.
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The atoms of some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.
These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.
For example, fission track dating measures the microscopic marks left in crystals by subatomic particles from decaying isotopes.
Another example is luminescence dating, which measures the energy from radioactive decay that is trapped inside nearby crystals.