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A muon is about 2/3rds of the size of a proton or a neutron.They are unstable, lasting only a few hundredths of a microsecond.These secondary fast nucleons continue to produce cosmogenic nuclides in the atmosphere, hydrosphere & lithosphere by breaking apart target atoms through spallation interactions.Eventually, the particles have insufficient energy to cause spallation. The production of cosmogenic nuclides slows with depth in rock as the cosmic ray intensity flux becomes attenuated with depth.The accelerated particles cause a cascade of interactions in the upper atmosphere as they strike more atmospheric nuclei, creating additional particles and high energy radiation.The particles continue in the same direction, while photons are emitted in all directions. The cosmic ray cascade has essentially three components: ) are all leptons, which have no sub-structure and are not composed of simpler particles).
It varies with latitude, because the flux is modulated by the Earth’s magnetic field.
A hadron is a composite particle made up of quarks held together by a strong force.
Hadrons comprise baryons (such as protons and neutrons) and mesons. This component of the cosmic ray cascade is most important for cosmogenic nuclide dating.
The muons and gamma rays then decay to form electrons (e).
The hadronic component comprises protons (p) and neutrons (n).