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Potassium is about 1/40 of the earth's crust, and about 1/10,000 of the potassium is potassium 40.
Uranium decays to lead by a complex series of steps. Thus we obtain K-Ar dating, U-Pb dating, and Rb-Sr dating, three of the most common methods.
Perhaps the earth was made from older pre-existing matter, or perhaps decay rates were briefly faster for some reason. Geologic time is divided up into periods, beginning with the Precambrian, followed by the Cambrian and a number of others, leading up to the present.
When one considers the power of God, one sees that any such conclusions are to some extent tentative. Some fossils are found in Precambrian rocks, but most of them are found in Cambrian and later periods.
Potassium is present in most geological materials, making potassium-argon dating highly useful if it really works.Since there doesn't seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate.However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over 500 million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old.In two half-lives, half of the remainder will decay, meaning 3/4 in all will have decayed.In general, in n half-lives, only 1/(2^n) of the original parent material will be left.