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illustration of Earth's magnetic field

MAGNETIC SHIELD  The planet’s magnetic field isn’t on the cusp of a catastrophic flip of the magnetic poles, new lava analysis suggest. A magnetic reversal would weaken Earth’s magnetic field, causing auroras closer to the equator, as seen in this artist’s illustration. 


WATERY WORLD  Water molecules embedded inside lava spewed by volcanoes in Iceland (like the one shown) and Canada suggest that Earth’s H2O originated from water-laden dust.


THE GREAT DYING  Geologists dated rocks in South Africa’s Karoo Basin and determined that land species thought to have died off during the Permian extinction actually disappeared over a million years earlier. 

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