What is a Marsquake?


Context: A global team of scientists led by the University of Oxford have announced the source of the largest-ever seismic event recorded on Mars. 

Major Highlights about Marsquake

  • The quake of magnitude of 4.7 on Mars was recorded by NASA’s InSight lander in May 2022.
  • Since its seismic signal was similar to previous quakes known to be caused by meteoroid impacts, the team believed that the event was caused by a meteorite impact.
  • However, the recent study suggests that the quake was the result of enormous tectonic forces (release of stress) within Mars’ crust.
    • These stresses are the result of billions of years of evolution; including the cooling and shrinking of different parts of the planet Mars at different rates.
    • This indicates that the planet is much more seismically active than previously thought. 
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Mars vs Earth:

  • Earth’s crust is divided into immense plates that continually shift which triggers quakes. However, the Martian crust is a single solid plate. 
  • Though it is believed that Mars does not have any active plate tectonics, there are faults still active on Mars. These faults can trigger quakes. 

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