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Later, after radioactivity had been proven to be a significant source of the Earth's internal heat, he did privately admit that he might have been in error.
What is especially telling about this whole story is the conclusion of the absolute truth of the conclusion based on premises that are weak, or at least not adequately demonstrated.
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...
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.
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).
The solar estimate was based on the idea that the energy supply for the solar radioactive flux is gravitational contraction.
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.
Interweaving the relative time scale with the atomic time scale poses certain problems because only certain types of rocks, chiefly the igneous variety, can be dated directly by radiometric methods; but these rocks do not ordinarily contain fossils.
Some, like Robert Gentry, have even argued that Radio-halos from rapidly decaying radioactive isotopes in granite seem to indicate that the granites were formed almost instantly.