The Far Side of Mars Rocked by Two of the Largest Marsquakes Ever Recorded

Mars Planet Rotation

NASA’s InSight lander on Mars used its seismometer to record two of its strongest seismic events to date: a magnitude 4.2 and a magnitude 4.1 marsquake.

NASA’s InSight lander’s seismometer on Mars has recorded two of its strongest seismic events to date: a magnitude 4.2 and a magnitude 4.1 marsquake. The pair are the first documented occurrences on the planet’s far side from the lander, and they are five times stronger than the previous greatest recorded event.

Seismic wave data from the events could help scientists learn more about the interior layers of Mars, particularly its core-mantle boundary, researchers from InSight’s Marsquake Service (MQS) reported on April 22, 2022, in The Seismic Record.

Anna Horleston of the University of Bristol and colleagues were able to identify reflected PP and SS waves from the magnitude 4.2 event, called S0976a, and locate its origin in the Valles Marineris, a massive canyon network that is one of Mars’ most distinguishing geological features and one of the largest graben systems in the Solar System. Earlier orbital images of cross-cutting faults and landslides suggested the area would be seismically active, but the new event is the first confirmed seismic activity there.

Mars Surface Relief Map

Mars surface relief map showing InSight’s location (orange triangle), other located marsquakes (purple dots) that cluster around 30° distance, close to Cerberus Fossae, and S0976a, located within Valles Marineris just north of Sollis Planum. S1000a’s location is predicted to be somewhere within the shaded region between 107° and 147° from InSight. Credit: Horelston et al. (2022) TSR

S1000a, the magnitude 4.1 event recorded 24 days later, was characterized by reflected PP and SS waves as well as Pdiff waves, small amplitude waves that have traversed the core-mantle boundary. This is the first time Pdiff waves have been spotted by the InSight mission. The researchers could not definitively pinpoint S1000a’s location, but like S0976a it originated on Mars’ far side. The seismic energy from S1000a also holds the distinction of being the longest recorded on Mars, lasting 94 minutes.

Both marsquakes occurred in the core shadow zone, a region where P and S waves can’t travel directly to InSight’s seismometer because they are stopped or bent by the core. PP and SS waves don’t follow a direct path, but rather are reflected at least once at the surface before traveling to the seismometer.

“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,” said Savas Ceylan, a co-author from ETH Zürich. “Being within the core shadow, the energy traverses parts of Mars we have never been able to seismologically sample before.”

The two marsquakes differ in some important ways. S0976a is characterized by only low-frequency energy, like many of the quakes identified so far on the planet, while S1000a has a very broad frequency spectrum. “[S1000a] is a clear outlier in our catalog and will be key to our further understanding of Martian seismology,” Horleston said.

S0976a is likely to have a much deeper origin than S1000a, she noted. “The latter event has a frequency spectrum much more like a family of events that we observe that have been modeled as shallow, crustal quakes, so this event may have occurred near the surface. S0976a looks like many of the events we have located to Cerberus Fossae – an area of extensive faulting – that have depths modeled to be around 50 kilometers or more and it is likely that this event has a similar, deep, source mechanism.”

Compared to the rest of the seismic activity detected by InSight, the two new far-side quakes are true outliers, the researchers said.

“Not only are they the largest and most distant events by a considerable margin, S1000a has a spectrum and duration unlike any other event previously observed. They truly are remarkable events in the Martian seismic catalog,” Horleston said.

Reference: “The Far Side of Mars: Two Distant Marsquakes Detected by InSight” by Anna C. Horleston, John F. Clinton, Savas Ceylan, Domenico Giardini, Constantinos Charalambous, Jessica C. E. Irving, Philippe Lognonné, Simon C. Stähler, Géraldine Zenhäusern, Nikolaj L. Dahmen, Cecilia Duran, Taichi Kawamura, Amir Khan, Doyeon Kim, Matthieu Plasman, Fabian Euchner, Caroline Beghein, Éric Beucler, Quancheng Huang, Martin Knapmeyer, Brigitte Knapmeyer-Endrun, Vedran Lekic, Jiaqi Li, Clément Perrin, Martin Schimmel, Nicholas C. Schmerr, Alexander E. Stott, Eléonore Stutzmann, Nicholas A. Teanby, Zongbo Xu, Mark Panning and William B. Banerdt, 22 April 2022, The Seismic Record.
DOI: 10.1785/0320220007

6 Comments on "The Far Side of Mars Rocked by Two of the Largest Marsquakes Ever Recorded"

  1. Very Interesting.

    Initial Thoughts.

    1. Use Earth with its Water (75%) and Earthquakes as a base and compare data with Mars quakes (without Oceans and Large Water Bodies – Assumption) to determine the dampening effect provided in both planets by the different composition of the Planets. Recent reports of Water in Solid State may provided a different level of dampening and make weather prediction on mars difficult.

    2. Make sure that next Mars mission is equipped with miniaturized mini sensors to detect Mars Quake , which may help in our ability to make a reliable EWS ( Early Warning System ) for MARS and also EARTH , as the earthquakes , especially densely populated areas, cause tremendous loss of life and damage to property. Of course the same earthquake detector sensors would be useful in the mother planet as well as other planets as and when we get their or their satellites.

    Views expressed are personal and not binding on anyone,

    • Torbjörn Larsson | April 26, 2022 at 1:36 pm | Reply

      IIRC the initial InSight papers looked at the differences in seismic activities vs composition between Earth, Mars and Moon [Apollo seismographs] where they could note a difference in dampening et cetera. The quakes of wet Earth crust are quickly damped, the quakes of dry Moon are not, and Mars lies in between.

      Here is a video from 2019 on the initial observations, before they published results:

      “NASA sent the first seismometer to the Moon 50 years ago, during the Apollo 11 mission; the agency’s InSight lander brought the first seismometer to Mars in late 2018, and it’s called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS).

      Provided by the French space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), the seismometer detected its first marsquake on April 6, 2019. The InSight mission’s Marsquake Service, which monitors the data from SEIS, is led by Swiss research university ETH Zurich.

      Quakes look and feel different depending on the material their seismic waves pass through. In a new video, scientists at ETH demonstrate this by using data from the Apollo-era seismometers on the Moon, two of the first quakes detected on Mars by SEIS and quakes recorded here on Earth.”

      [ ]

  2. Babu G. Ranganathan | April 25, 2022 at 6:57 am | Reply

    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. Bible/Biology)


    A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions the high possibility of Earth life on Mars because of millions of tons of Earth soil ejected into space from ancient volcanic explosions. “We think there’s about 7 million tons of earth soil sitting on Mars”, says USC scientist Kenneth Nealson. “You have to consider the possibility that if we find life on Mars, it could have come from the Earth” [Weingarten, T., Newsweek, September 21, 1998, p.12]. This may also explain why life forms may exist on Venus, again because they originated from Earth.

    In the Earth’s past there was powerful volcanic activity which could have easily spewed dirt and rocks containing microbes and life into outer space which not only could have eventually reached Mars but also ended up traveling in orbit through space that we now know as meteors, comets, and asteroids. This would mean life forms found in meteorites originated from Earth in the first place.

    Secular scientists have a different explanation from creationist scientists on the volcanic eruptions of the Earth’s past. Creation scientists believe, as Genesis teaches, that as the fountains of the deep were opened to release water for the world-wide flood the force of the eruptions could have indeed spewed great amounts of earth soil into space.

    Life could not have evolved. A partially evolved cell would quickly disintegrate under the effects of random forces of the environment, especially without the protection of a complete and fully functioning cell membrane. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years for chance to make it complete and living! In fact, it couldn’t have even reached the partially evolved state.

    Having the right conditions and raw material for life do not mean that life can originate or arise by chance. Stanley Miller, in his famous experiment in 1953, showed that individual amino acids (the building blocks of life) could come into existence by chance. But, it’s not enough just to have amino acids. The various amino acids that make-up life must link together in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence, to form functioning protein molecules. If they’re not in the right sequence the protein molecules won’t work. It has never been shown that various amino acids can bind together into a sequence by chance to form protein molecules. Even the simplest cell is made up of many millions of various protein molecules.

    The probability of just an average size protein molecule arising by chance is 10 to the 65th power. Mathematicians have said any event in the universe with odds of 10 to 50th power or greater is impossible! The late great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle calculated that the odds of even the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is 10 to the 40,000th power! How large is this? Consider that the total number of atoms in our universe is 10 to the 82nd power.
    Also, what many don’t realize is that Miller had a laboratory apparatus that shielded and protected the individual amino acids the moment they were formed, otherwise the amino acids would have quickly disintegrated and been destroyed in the mix of random energy and forces involved in Miller’s experiment.

    Miller’s experiment produced equally both left-handed and right-handed amino acids, but all living things strictly require only left-handed amino acids. If a right-handed amino acid gets into the chain the protein won’t work.

    There is no innate chemical tendency for the various amino acids to bond with one another in a sequence. Any one amino acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason at all for why the various amino acids bond with one another in a precise sequence in the cells of our bodies is because they’re directed to do so by an already existing sequence of molecules found in our genetic code.

    Of course, once you have a complete and living cell then the genetic code and biological machinery exist to direct the formation of more cells, but how could life or the cell have naturally originated when no directing code and mechanisms existed in nature? Read my Internet article: HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM.

    Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION


    * I have had the privilege of being recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who In The East” for my writings on religion and science, and I have given successful lectures (with question and answer time afterwards) defending creation from science before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities.

  3. Cynthia Binder | April 25, 2022 at 8:07 am | Reply

    Mars quakes yes.
    Mars 💧 🚰 🚿 yes
    Mars 50°-180° yes
    Mars human population zero😇😆😅🤣😂🤩😏😱👽👻😲😎 science sekar

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.