Natural production Most of the radiocarbon found on earth is formed naturally in the upper atmosphere. High-energy cosmic rays (from outside the solar system) are constantly bombarding the upper atmosphere. These high-energy particles undergo a whole cascade of nuclear reactions resulting in some slow moving neutrons.

## What isotope is used to date organic remains?

carbon-14 dating Archaeologists have long used carbon-14 dating (also known as radiocarbon dating) to estimate the age of certain objects. Traditional radiocarbon dating is applied to organic remains between 500 and 50,000 years old and exploits the fact that trace amounts of radioactive carbon are found in the natural environment.

## Is carbon-14 naturally occurring isotope?

Isotopes are members of a family of an element that all have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons. Carbon occurs naturally in three isotopes: carbon 12, which has 6 neutrons (plus 6 protons equals 12), carbon 13, which has 7 neutrons, and carbon 14, which has 8 neutrons.