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Potassium - Argon and Argon - Argon dating are based on the current understanding that radioactive Potassium-40 decays to the stable form, Argon-40 with a half-life of approximately 1.25 billion years.
There are some circumstances that can affect this rate such as magnetic fluctuations etc...
was published, the earth was "scientifically" determined to be 100 million years old. In 1947, science firmly established that the earth was 3.4 billion years old.
Finally in 1976, it was discovered that the earth is "really" 4.6 billion years old… The answer of 25 million years deduced by Kelvin was not received favorably by geologists.
These first “geochronology studies” yielded the first “absolute ages” from geologic material, which seemed to indicate that parts of the Earth's crust were hundreds of millions of years old. There is, of course, one radiometric dating method that appears to overcome the vital "zero date problem".
The isochron dating method theoretically overcomes the need to know the initial ratio of parent and daughter isotopes. For now, we will look at those methods that do fall under the above assumptions.
In short, the assumption that decay rates are immune to outside influences isn't as solid as it once appeared to be.
It was based on the idea that no significant source of novel heat energy was affecting the Earth.
He believed this even though he did admit that some heat might be generated by the tidal forces or by chemical action.
However, on the whole, he thought that these sources were not adequate to account for anything more than a small faction of the heat lost by the Earth.
These two independent and agreeing dating methods for of the age of two primary members of the solar system formed a strong case for the correctness of his answer within the scientific community.
This just goes to show that just because independent estimates of age seem to agree with each other doesn't mean that they're correct - despite the fact that this particular argument is the very same one used to support the validity of radiometric dating today.