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InSight gets first direct proof of Marquakes

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The red planet is much more seismically active than previously thought.

The NASA Mars InSight probe recorded the first signs of Mars seismic activity in April 2019 using the SEIS tool, which consists of three detectors that can detect ground vibrations at high and low frequencies.

Scientists needed almost a year to process the probe data, and now the results of their work are published in a special issue of Nature.

InSight gets first direct proof of Marquakes

“We have proven that Mars is a seismically active planet. Its bowels turned out to be much more active than that of the Moon, but less restless than on Earth.

On the whole, Mars recalls in this respect those quiet corners of our planet that are far from faults and zones of seismic stress, ”said Bruce Banerdt, head of the InSight mission at NASA.

For 235 Martian days, the device recorded 174 seismic bursts. Of these, 150 were high-frequency tremors similar to those recorded during Apollo’s experiments on the moon.

However, the remaining 24 were low-frequency – they originated at a depth of 20-30 km, and had a magnitude of 3-4. Such impulses would be noticeable to man if he were in the vicinity of their epicenter on Mars.

“These 24 tremors have a predominantly low-frequency content, and their spectral forms follow the same scaling laws as earthquakes and moon tremors. This leads us to the conclusion that they are of tectonic origin “, – said the researchers.

Scientists have discovered that two of the three most severe marquakes occurred in the so-called Cerberus ledges.

This is the meaning of the set of clefts and faults located at the equator of Mars, next to the plain of Elysius.

The Cerberus ledges are considered the youngest geological region of Mars in terms of volcanic activity. The last eruptions here occurred about 10 million years ago.

This fact may indicate the manifestation of modern tectonic and magmatic activity in the bowels of Mars, although this contradicts modern ideas about volcanism and the geological evolution of the planet.

The InSight space probe was launched in May 2018 and landed on Mars on November 26, 2018, where it installed a seismometer called the Seismic Experiment of the Internal Structure (SEIS).

At the end of February last year, the device first managed to drill soil on Mars. The InSight mission will last at least another year.

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