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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...
Of course, the detected variation is no more than 0.2% of the published rates, but this paper is still quite interesting since such a correlation was never suspected before.
If magnetic fluxuations or other influencing forces are strong enough, radiometric decay rates could be much more significantly effected.
Without this knowledge, he argued that, "As for the future, we may say, with equal certainty, that inhabitants of the Earth cannot continue to enjoy the light and heat essential to their life, for many million years longer, unless sources now unknown to us are prepared in the great storehouse of creation."The same is true of the basis of Kelvin's estimate of the age of the Earth.
It was based on the idea that no significant source of novel heat energy was affecting the Earth.
There is perhaps no beguilement more insidious and dangerous than an elaborate and elegant mathematical process built upon unfortified premises." - Chamberlain 1899b:224Following the discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel (1896), the possibility of using this phenomenon as a means for determining the age of uranium-bearing minerals was demonstrated by Rutherford (1906).
One year later Boltwood (1907) developed the chemical U-Pb method. By combining Von Weizsacker’s argon abundance arguments with Kohlhorster’s observation that potassium emitted gamma-radiation, Bramley (1937) presented strong evidence that potassium underwent dual decay.
Of course, this was a close as Kelvin ever came to publicly recanting his position.
But in general, this rate is felt by the vast majority of mainstream scientists to be a fundamental constant. al., published a paper suggesting that the decay rate of radioactive elements is related to the Earth's distance from the Sun.
In other words, the decay rates show annual changes that closely reflect the Earth's distance from the Sun (see illustration).
Both the physical geologists and paleontologists could point to evidence that much more time was needed to produce what they saw in the stratigraphic and fossil records.
As one answer to his critics, Kelvin produced a completely independent estimate -- this time for the age of the Sun.