NASA's InSight Lander Mission has detected the largest Marsquakes yet, with magnitudes of 4.2 and 4.1
A seismometer installed on Mars by NASA's InSight lander has detected the two largest marsquakes to date. The seismic occurrences had magnitudes of 4.2 and 4.1, according to a new analysis. Both of these quakes were five times stronger than the previous greatest recorded seismic event.
After analyzing the seismic data from these two events, researchers aim to understand more about Mars' inner layers. Mars has piqued scientists' curiosity as they prepare to colonize the planet. And these occurrences may provide insight into whether or not long-term human existence is conceivable. Marsquakes are measured using a spectral magnitude scale, whereas earthquakes use the Richter Magnitude Scale.
The magnitude 4.2 quake (dubbed S0976a) was discovered in the Valles Marineris, a vast canyon network on Mars and one of the solar system's greatest graben systems. Scientists have long suspected that this location could be seismically active, but this is the first confirmation.
The second 4.1 magnitude marsquake (S1000a) was observed 24 days after the first, according to the Seismological Society of America. This occurrence was unique in that it was the first time Pdiff waves, small amplitude waves that have transcended the core-mantle boundary were detected by a seismometer planted by NASA's Mars InSight lander project.
The researchers were unable to pinpoint its exact position, only that it originated on Mars's far side. This event was especially notable because the seismic energy emitted lasted 94 minutes, the longest ever recorded on Mars.
The two new quakes are true outliers when compared to the remainder of the seismic activity identified by InSight, according to the researchers.
“Not only are they the largest and most distant events by a considerable margin, S1000a has a spectrum and duration unlike any other event previously observed. They truly are remarkable events in the Martian seismic catalog,” said Anna Horleston, a researcher on the study at the University of Bristol. The study was published in the Seismological Society of America's journal The Seismic Record.