Radioactivity - Research Article from World of Earth Science

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 5 pages of information about Radioactivity.
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Radioactivity

Radioactivity originates from extraterrestrial sources and terrestrial geologic sources. All elements with more than 83 protons (i.e., an atomic number greater than 83) are radioactive. Some radioactive isotopes also occur in elements with lower atomic numbers.

Atoms that are radioactive emit radioactivity during spontaneous transformation from an unstable isotope to a more stable one. Natural radioactive decay provides a source of heating in Earth's interior that drives mantle dynamics and plate tectonics. Both natural and man-made sources of radioactivity at certain levels may represent a significant health risk to humans and other organisms. Radioactive materials must be isolated from the environment until their radiation level has decreased to a safe level, a process which requires thousands of years for some materials.

Radiation is classified as being ionizing or nonionizing. Both types can be harmful to humans and other organisms. Nonionizing radiation is relatively long-wavelength electro-magnetic radiation, such as radio...

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This section contains 1,363 words
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Buy the Radioactivity Encyclopedia Article
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Radioactivity from World of Earth Science. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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