Detecting the source of the most powerful earthquake that struck Mars

2023-10-19 2023-10-19T12:56:09Z
ندى ماهر عبدربه
ندى ماهر عبدربه
صانع مُحتوى

Weather of Arabia - The giant seismic event on Mars - the “Mars earthquake” - that shook the Red Planet last year had an unexpected source, which surprised scientists in the field of astrophysics across the world, as its source was very surprising. Instead of suspecting the impact of a meteorite as the source of the earthquake , was found to have been caused by enormous tectonic forces trapped within the Martian crust, resulting in tremors that lasted for up to six hours.

 

The phenomenon of earthquakes on Mars

The results and conclusions were published in a study published in the journal "Geophysical Research Letters". NASA's Insight lander recorded a 4.7-magnitude Martian earthquake on May 4, 2022 , dubbed S1222a , and its seismic signals initially caused some confusion; Because of its similarity to previous earthquakes caused by meteorite impacts.

To understand more about this phenomenon, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford worked in collaboration with the European Space Agency, the China National Space Agency, the Indian Space Research Organization, and the UAE Space Agency. Each team examined their satellite data to look for any signs indicating a meteorite impact, such as the presence of... A crater or dust cloud, and since they could not find evidence of a meteorite impact, they now believe that the Mars earthquake (S1222a) was caused by massive tectonic forces occurring within the Martian crust.

Also, the main evidence available does not point to the movement of tectonic crustal plates on Mars in the same way that they do during earthquakes, and Benjamin Fernando, who is a co-author of the study and an expert in planetary geophysics at the University of Oxford, pointed out that we still believe that Mars remains stable in terms of The existence of currently active tectonic plates, and in terms of the events that have been recorded, are believed to be caused by the release of pressure within the Martian crust; Due to stresses that have built up over the years, including different cooling and contraction in different parts of the planet.

 

 

Source of the Mars earthquake

In the research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers indicated that the source of the giant earthquake that struck Mars was the result of massive tectonic activity in its crust , which was unexpected; Because there are no active tectonic plates on Mars, according to what the “Science Alert” website quoted Benjamin Fernando, one of the study participants and an expert in planetary geophysics at the University of Oxford.

Fernando explained that the pressures that resulted in this earthquake came as a result of the influence of billions of years of evolution, and included expansion and contraction in various parts of Mars at various rates, and through the “InSight” mission, which lasted about 4 years on the surface of Mars, hundreds of earthquakes and earthquakes were monitored, as Some were caused by space particles colliding with the Martian surface, while other earthquakes were linked to magma activity, suggesting that Mars' interior is not quite as solid as previously thought.

 

Although the exact reason why some areas of Mars experience higher pressures is not entirely clearly known by scientists, these results may direct research towards a better understanding of this phenomenon . Fernando said:

“Over time, this information may be useful to us in determining safe areas for humans to potentially live on Mars, as well as places to avoid.”

 

This study enables the team to direct the knowledge gained towards other research, including future missions dedicated to exploring our moons and tectonic phenomena, which may exist on one of Saturn’s moons known as Titan. In addition, the team hopes to strengthen international cooperation to study Mars and its future exploration.

Regarding this, Dimitra Atri, who co-authored the study and is an astrophysicist at New York University Abu Dhabi, noted that this was a great opportunity to collaborate with the InSight team and members of other large missions dedicated to exploring Mars, and explained:

“This era is truly the golden age of Mars exploration!”

 

Also know:

Are there earthquakes on other planets?

Fire in a way you have never seen before. A dangerous experiment inside the International Space Station

 


Sources:

popsci

al-ain

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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