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26 Jun, 2022
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This Marsquake From Mars Lasted For 94 Minutes!

The sensitive seismometer on NASA’s InSight lander has registered two seismic events of magnitudes 4.2 and 4.1, the largest marsquakes ever recorded. The pair of marsquakes is also the first recorded seismic event on the far side of Mars considering the lander’s location. 

The possibilities are about five times stronger than previous marsquakes recorded by the InSight lander. The seismic wave data allow planetary scientists to figure out the interior structure of Mars, particularly the core-mantle boundary. Researchers studied the pressure waves and shear waves originating from a magnitude 4.2 event, designated as S0976a and located its origin in the Valles Marineris, one of the most significant canyon systems in the Solar System

Orbital imagery had previously provided evidence of landslides and cross-cutting faults, suggesting seismic activity, which the seismometer on InSight has confirmed. 

Apart from pressure waves and shear waves, researchers also studied small amplitude waves that had traversed the core-mantle boundary, known as Pdiff waves. This is the first time that the InSight mission has registered Pdiff waves. 

Researchers could not pinpoint the precise location of the event, but it is also likely to have originated from the other side of the planet. The event is also the longest ever marsquake recorded, lasting for straight 94 minutes. 

Both the quakes originated in a region known as the core shadow zone, from which the shear waves and pressure waves cannot travel directly to the InSight lander but instead bounce off at least once from the surface. 

Co-author of the paper, Savas Ceylan said: “Recording events within the core shadow zone is a real steppingstone for our understanding of Mars. Prior to these two events, the majority of the seismicity was within about 40 degrees distance of InSight. Being within the core shadow, the energy traverses parts of Mars we have never been able to seismologically sample before,” 

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