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.
Although Mars is smaller than Earth, it has a similar surface area because it has no oceans. The researchers had 144 million square kilometers to explore, and Dr. Benjamin Fernando from the University of Oxford, who led the research, requested help from the European Space Agency, the China National Space Agency, the Indian Space Research Organization, and the United Arab Emirates. Space agency. These institutions have their own sensors in Mars orbit. Mission managers sifted through data from their orbiters looking for a new crater or other distinct trace, such as the appearance of a cloud of dust several hours after a strong seismic event.
After several months of searching, no new hole was found. Therefore, scientists concluded that the earthquakes were caused by the release of enormous tectonic forces hidden in the interior of Mars.
Stresses in the Martian crust
The scientists’ findings are unexpected because Mars does not have tectonic plates. -We still believe that there are no active tectonic plates on Mars at this time, so this event was likely caused by the release of stresses in the Martian crust. These pressures are the result of billions of years of evolution, including different parts of the planet cooling and contracting at different rates. Fernando said: We still don’t fully understand why pressures appear higher in some parts of the planet than others, but results like these help us conduct further research.
Mars appears to be more seismically active than we thought. Unfortunately, the InSight lander will not help with further research. The batteries stopped providing enough power at the end of 2022, but the data collected will provide scientists with research material for years to come.
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn’t about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life’s poignant moments.