of much greater magnitude

ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

Nevertheless,for archeologists concerned with the long periods of time of the Paleolithic period there are variations in coastlines of much greater magnitude to consider.

(This reading comprehension comes from TOEFL Practice Online about Ancient Coastlines.)

Does "coastlines of much greater magnitude" mean "more important coastlines"?

Thanks in advance!
 
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  • Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I am unable to distinguish the blue part; whether because of my eyesight or because of my screen. Please could you highlight in bold? Thank you.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Much greater than what? Is the writer comparing the magnitude of the measurement of coastlines with the periods of time? (I sometimes wonder if I could pass the TOEFL Proficiency test!)
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi,

    Nevertheless,for archeologists concerned with the long periods of time of the Paleolithic period there are variations in coastlines of much greater magnitude to consider.

    (This reading comprehension comes from TOEFL Practice Online about Ancient Coastlines.)

    Does "coastlines of much greater magnitude" mean "more important coastlines"?

    Thanks in advance!
    No.

    Here is the structure

    Nevertheless, for archeologists concerned with the long periods of time of the Paleolithic period there are variations ... of much greater magnitude to consider.

    The phrase "in coastlines" establishes the type of variation that we are talking about. There will have been many other variations during the Palaeolithic - climate, human culture, settlement, etc.

    The Palaeolithic was such a long era that coastlines varied greatly on that time-scale
     
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    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    No.

    Here is the structure

    Nevertheless,for archeologists concerned with the long periods of time of the Paleolithic period there are variations ... of much greater magnitude to consider.

    "in coastlines" modifies "variations".

    I missed that. "there are variations of scale/degree (magnitude) in distance that are greater than those in time".
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I missed that. "there are variations of scale/degree (magnitude) in distance that are greater than those in time".
    It doesn't say that distance is greater than time (I don't see how one could make that comparison). It says that the Palaeolithic was such a long time, that coastlines changed a lot while it was happening.

    The change in coastlines of course had an effect on human migration across the planet. While humans were developing stone tools (the -lithic periods), they were migrating at the same time.

    The following diagram shows that the Palaeolithic was the longest phase of human history - it lasted about 2 million years. It is not surprising that coastlines moved during this period..

    1652569493798.png
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's obviously a reference/comparison to something said earlier.

    "Nevertheless, for archeologists concerned with the long periods of time of the Paleolithic period there are variations in coastlines of much greater magnitude (than those mentioned previously) to consider."

    Whatever time period they were talking about earlier was shorter and had smaller variations in the positions of the coastlines.
     
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