Scientists have recorded a record-breaking Mars quake

(ORDO NEWS) — An analysis of data from a seismometer operating on the InSight probe showed that the magnitude of the quake on May 4, 2022 reached 4.7.

Its energy turned out to be five times greater than that of the previous record holder, and the created seismic waves circled the planet several times.

The InSight module has been operating on the Red Planet for four years. Unlike rovers, it is stationary, and one of the scientific tasks of the device is to monitor seismic activity using the SEIS onboard instrument.

On August 25, 2021, he registered a 4.2 magnitude quake. And a new analysis of the data obtained during the May 4, 2022 quake showed that its power was even higher and reached 4.7.

Previously, the magnitude of this event was estimated at 5, but upon closer examination, the figure had to be revised.

It may not seem so significant against the backdrop of many earthquakes that occur on our planet. However, for a geologically calm Mars, this is still a record.

Given that the magnitude scale is exponential, the energy of the S1222a event was five times greater than that of the 2021 record holder, and is comparable to all previously recorded quakes combined.

Unlike previous quakes, S1222a lasted about four hours – twice as long as the longest of earlier such events. Its epicenter was located near the furrows of Cerberus (Cerberus Fossae) – the most seismically active region of the planet – but not in themselves.

This shows that the source of the event is not associated with known geological faults deep in the Martian crust.

“Although the epicenter was more than 2,000 kilometers away, the oscillations recorded by InSight almost reached the limits of its seismometer,” said John Clinton of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, one of the authors of the new work.

“For the first time, we noticed surface waves that diverged through the crust and upper mantle, going around the planet several times.”

Separate articles ( 1 , 2 ) published in the same journal are devoted to the analysis of seismic waves generated by S1222a.

These waves were recorded for 10 hours, both high-frequency and low-frequency, while past marsquakes led to the occurrence of either one or the other.

Their movement showed that layers of different density alternate in the bowels of Mars, apparently composed of volcanic and sedimentary rocks.

Most likely, S1222a will remain the champion for a long time. The solar panels of the InSight module are too heavily covered with Martian dust and are generating less and less energy.

In the near future, the device will stop working and will no longer be able to register and send to Earth new data on the seismic activity of the neighboring planet.


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