'Marsquake': first tremor detected on Red Planet

'Marsquake': first tremor detected on Red Planet
This image of InSight's seismometer was taken on the 110th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The seismometer is called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists said Tuesday they might have detected the first known seismic tremor on Mars in a discovery that could shed light on the ancient origins of Earth's neighbour.

A dome-shaped known as SEIS landed on the surface of Mars in December after hitching a ride on NASA's InSight spacecraft.

Its instruments measure surface vibrations caused by weather but are also capable of detecting movement from deep within the planet—so called "marsquakes"—or those caused by meteorite impacts.

The French space agency Cnes, which operates SEIS, said it had detected "a weak but distinct seismic signal" from the probe.

The team hopes to be able to gather information about the activity at the centre of Mars, hopefully providing insight into its formation billions of years ago.

"It's great to finally have a sign that there's still on Mars," said Philippe Lognonne, a researcher at Paris' Institut de Physique du Globe.

"We've waited for our first Martian quake for months."

According to NASA's Bruce Banerdt, the quake detection "marks the birth of a new discipline: Martian seismology."

The team said they were still working to confirm the cause of the tremor, picked up on April 6, and ensure it came from the planet's interior rather than wind or noise distortion.

It said three other similar but weaker signals of tremors had been picked up by the apparatus.


Explore further

InSight places first instrument on Mars

© 2019 AFP

Citation: 'Marsquake': first tremor detected on Red Planet (2019, April 23) retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-marsquake-tremor-red-planet.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
3359 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Apr 23, 2019
If all 4 signals are significant, they see a quake about once every month, 3 months since SEIS was commissioned [ https://en.wikipe...erations ]. If not, about 4 every year.

"Calculations of the cooling of Mars involve a range of factors that are currently only poorly understood, so investigating these is one of the objectives of the InSight mission. ... DLR models indicate that around 10 quakes with a magnitude of at least four will occur during the two-year mission, but more optimistic predictions put the figure at several hundred."

[ https://www.dlr.d...ry/30456 ]

Apr 23, 2019
Ahhh Martian Seismology - a new Discipline. Well, why not. Why would Mars be that different from Earth in the earthquake department? Is it caused by magma or is it from the influence of the moons of Mars? Deimos and Phobos. Does Mars have subduction zones as on Earth?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more