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, later scientists, like John Perry and T. After this came to light, Kelvin admitted that he might just as well have set his original upper limit on the age of the Earth at 4,000 Ma instead of 400 Ma.
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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.
Based on these assumptions he at first suggested an age of the Earth of between 100 Ma and 500 Ma.
This estimate was actually reduced over his lifetime to between 20 Ma and 40 Ma and eventually to less than 10 Ma. Perry, in particular, a noted physicists and former assistant to Kelvin, showed that cooling calculations using different but equally likely assumptions and data resulted in ages for the Earth of as much as 29 Ga.
He believed this even though he did admit that some heat might be generated by the tidal forces or by chemical action.