The largest seismic event ever recorded on Mars was not caused by a meteorite

New research provides more evidence that Mars is more seismically active than previously thought. On May 4, 2022, a seismometer on Mars with the InSight lander recorded seismic tremors measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale. The relegation was already at the end of its strength. Its solar panels were gathering dust and the Martian winter was approaching. But the recorded tremors convinced NASA’s decision-makers to get the most out of the lander. An important question had to be answered: What is the cause of this strong shock?

Research conducted by scientists from Oxford University ruled out the possibility that the recorded tremors were the result of a meteorite impact. Scientists suggested that the earthquake was caused by the sudden release of enormous forces within the Martian crust.

The results and description of the research were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (DOI: 10.1029/2023GL103619).

Search the hole

The earthquake, which measured 4.7 on the Richter scale, struck the Red Planet for at least six hours. Because the seismic signal was similar to tremors previously recorded by meteorites, scientists concluded that the May 4, 2022 event, called S1222a, was also caused by a space rock colliding with the surface of Mars. So, they started looking for a new hole.

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