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Ancient monster eruption found, plus balancing sea ice, Bt-resistant beetles and more in this week’s news

12:11pm, August 6, 2011

A big bang
Geologists have uncovered the remains of one of the biggest volcanic eruptions ever. Some 21 million years ago, a volcano blew its top in southern Java with as much violence as the Toba supereruption of 74,000 years ago — until now, the gold standard by which big eruptions have been measured. Remains of the ancient eruption linger as massive volcanic rocks across Indonesia, report Helen Smyth of the University of Cambridge in England and her colleagues. The volcano, dubbed Semilir, may have changed the world’s climate, the scientists report in an upcoming issue of Lithos. — Alexandra Witze

Arctic ice in the balance
A new analysis of polar sea-ice records going back 10 millennia shows that when ice cover greatly diminished in one area in the Arctic, there were somewhat compensating increases elsewhere. This challenges what had been the prevailing view: that ice accumulation — or thin

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