A 4.7-magnitude earthquake detected by NASA’s InSight vehicle on May 4, 2022, was the result of massive tectonic activity in the Martian crust, according to an international team led by university planetary physicist Benjamin Fernando. Oxford in the United Kingdom.
“This is unexpected because Mars does not have tectonic plates.”
Fernando explains: “We still believe that Mars does not have active tectonic plates today, so this phenomenon could have been caused by the release of pressure in the Martian crust. These pressures are the result of billions of years of evolution, including expansion and contraction. At different rates in different parts of the planet.
InSight spent four years on Mars.
During that period, hundreds of earthquakes and earthquakes were detected. Some of them are the result of space rocks crashing into the Martian surface. Other earthquakes have been linked to magma activity, revealing that the Red Planet isn’t as dead inside as we thought.
Fernando and his colleagues wanted to get to the bottom of Inside, S1222a, the largest earthquake ever recorded: was it internally or externally generated?
Seismic data appeared similar to previously identified impact events, and other earthquakes emerged due to new, easily identifiable craters and rupture zones. Therefore, if S1222a was the result of an impact, the crater and blast regions it left behind should have been large and easy.
For the first time, satellites operated by the European Space Agency, China’s National Space Agency, the Indian Space Research Organization and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency have scanned the planet using a diverse array of instruments, looking for a new scar. of S1222a.
Search did not find anything like that. The researchers found that this offered a key explanation: tectonic movement. This suggests that Mars is more seismically active than we thought.
The InSight rover is no longer capable of further research, but the data already collected will give scientists food for thought for years to come — and future Mars missions and research will help answer some of the questions raised by this new discovery.
The research was published in Geophysical Research Letters.