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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.any method of determining the age of earth materials or objects of organic origin based on measurement of either short-lived radioactive elements or the amount of a long-lived radioactive element plus its decay product.A method for determining the age of an object based on the concentration of a particular radioactive isotope contained within it.The amount of the isotope in the object is compared to the amount of the isotope's decay products.The object's approximate age can then be figured out using the known rate of decay of the isotope.Each radioactive isotope has its own rate, expressed in terms of its half-life.The age of a substance, even if it is billions of years old, can be calculated if the substance contains radioisotopes with half-lives that are sufficiently long.
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.
Of course, this was a close as Kelvin ever came to publicly recanting his position.
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.
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.