Could you please explain the highlighted part of the sentence below? Thanks!

Researchers hope rocks collected here will confirm that volcanic activity on the Moon continued until far more recently than the 3.5bn years ago that is the estimate derived from studies of currently available samples.

Source: https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2020/11/21/china-plans-to-bring-back-the-first-moon-rocks-for-40-years


1 Answer 1


Current studies estimate that volcanic activity ceased on the moon 3.5 billion years ago.

Researchers hope that the new samples will show that previous estimate to be wrong. They hope to show that volcanic activity continued beyond that previous estimate.

Does that help?

  • Thanks! Why has the been used before 3.5bn?
    – Budu Gulo
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 11:52
  • @Budu Gulo - You're welcome. The use of "the" isn't necessarily easy to answer. I think it deserves a separate question. I suggest you post a new question about just this aspect of the sentence. Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 11:55
  • 1
    I have just posted a separate question. See <english.stackexchange.com/questions/552672/…>. Thanks!
    – Budu Gulo
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 12:19

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