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The most powerful ‘Martian earthquake’ ever recorded may have been caused by tectonic activity

The most powerful ‘Martian earthquake’ ever recorded may have been caused by tectonic activity

This article was originally published on English

Several missions orbiting the Red Planet have examined their satellite data to determine the cause of the 4.7-magnitude earthquake.


A team of scientists believe they have discovered the cause of the largest seismic event ever recorded on Mars.

What was originally thought to be massive tremors caused by a meteorite impact, is now thought to be a “Martian earthquake” caused by tectonic activity beneath the surface of the Red Planet.

NASA’s goal is to one day send humans to Mars to colonize it, but before that is possible, we still need to understand a lot about the planet.

One of the most important tasks is knowing safe landing places. Scientists working on the project say their findings could help us understand where it is safe for people to land — and live — and where we should avoid.

The search for the source of the 4.7-magnitude earthquake began six hours after NASA’s InSight lander recorded it on May 4, 2022.

According to Michigan Tech University, about half a million earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 to 5.4 occur on Earth every year, and although people feel most of them, they usually cause only minor damage.

According to the researchers, the seismic signal was similar to previous earthquakes known to be caused by meteorite impacts. It was initially assumed that the event called S1222a could also be traced back to this event.

For the first time, all missions orbiting the Red Planet cooperated in one project, and an international search for the suspected crater was launched to confirm the hypothesis.

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However, teams from the European Space Agency (ESA), the China National Space Agency (CNSA), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), as well as the University of Oxford, have found no evidence. There is a crater or signs of a meteorite impact.

After several months of searching satellite data, the team concluded that the Martian earthquake was caused by tectonic forces within the planet.

The study leader, Dr., said, “We still believe that there are no active tectonic plates on the surface of Mars, so this event was likely caused by the release of pressures in the Martian crust.” Benjamin Fernando from the University of Oxford.

“These pressures are the result of billions of years of evolution, including cooling and contraction in different parts of the planet at different rates.”

He added that although researchers don’t fully understand why some areas are more polluted than others, the information they collect “could help us understand where it would be safe for humans to live on Mars.” avoid it!”

The researchers published their results in the journal Published geophysical research lettersHe noted that Mars is more seismically active than previously thought.

“This experiment demonstrates the importance of maintaining a diverse set of instruments on Mars, and we are very pleased to have played our part in completing the multi-instrument and international approach to this study,” the doctor said. Daniela Tersch, science coordinator for the high-resolution stereo camera aboard ESA’s Mars Express rover.

The S1222a Martian earthquake was one of the last events recorded by InSight before the mission was declared over in December 2022.

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