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computer simulation of Earth's magnetic field

FLIP FLOP  In a computer simulation, magnetic field lines (top row) twist and curl around the Earth’s liquid outer core. This magnetism results from swirling, or convecting, liquid iron (bottom row). The simulation mimics the process of a polarity reversal in which Earth’s north and south magnetic poles swap. Such reversals, a sign of a strong magnetic field generator, are seen going back hundreds of millions of years in planetary history.

ancient lava

MURDEROUS MAGMA  Gases coughed up by the Siberian Traps volcanic eruptions could have triggered the Permian extinction around 252 million years ago, new research demonstrates. Researchers measured the age of the eruptions by analyzing crystals embedded in ancient lavas (shown).

hurricane map

SEISMIC STORM  Hurricane Sandy (visualized above) triggered tiny tremors under its eye as it stormed up the U.S. East Coast in 2012. These tiny quakes could help meteorologists closely monitor the behavior of raging hurricanes, researchers propose.

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