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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.
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.
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.
Of course, this was a close as Kelvin ever came to publicly recanting his position.Of course there seem to me to be fairly reasonable explanations for this observation which may allow for more slowly forming granitic rocks.For instance, polonium radiohalos are sometimes associated with polonium bands generated by the polonium being transported by hydrothermal fluids along fractures.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.