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So, Carbon-14 can only measure things up to just over 50,000 years old, great for determining when someone built a wood fire, but not good for determining the age of a meteorite. It occurs whenever an atom has an unbalanced number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus.The number of protons usually determines the element the atom belongs to and it is fixed for any particular element.This decay, or loss of energy, results in an atom (element) of one type, called the parent nuclide transforming to an atom of a different type (another element or another isotope of the same element), named the daughter nuclide.For example: a carbon-14 atom (the "parent") emits radiation and transforms to a nitrogen-14 atom (the "daughter").It is impossible to predict when a given atom will decay, but given a large number of similar atoms, the decay rate on average is predictable.
In nature, all elements have atoms with varying numbers of neutrons in their nucleus.
On the other hand, the number of neutrons that can be contained in the nucleus can vary.