Earth & Environment

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Southern Alps

RAINWATER RUMBLES  New Zealand’s Southern Alps focus rainwater on the nearby Alpine Fault, researchers propose. That water could help fuel the seismic cycle that generates a colossal earthquake along the fault every few hundred years

Warm surface waters in the eastern Pacific in March 2016

HOT WATER  Warm water left over in the equatorial Pacific Ocean from a failed 2014 El Niño helped push the current El Niño to extremes, new research suggests. Warm surface waters in the eastern Pacific, shown here in March 2016, can cause global weather disruptions.

Bt peanut plants

SHIELDED  The bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt, make a natural insecticide that kills pest larvae chowing down on crops. Today, plants are genetically engineered to produce the bacterial toxin. Lesser cornstalk borer larvae can ravage a peanut plant (above, right), but a plant with Bt genes kills hungry pests, protecting the plant (left; dead larva visible to right of plant).

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