An unusual earthquake on Mars indicates that the red planet is volcanically active

science & space

It seems that Mars is more “grumpy” than we thought. New methods have revealed impulses deep inside Mars that have not been observed before; According to scientists, the best explanation for this should be the current volcanic activity.

More and more evidence indicates that Mars is not even a dead planet, but rather its dusty, barren surface, in its bosom are seismic activities.

“Knowing that the mantle of Mars is still active is crucial to finding out how Mars was formed as a planet. “It will help us answer fundamental questions about the solar system, the core of Mars, the mantle, and the evolution of its current magnetic field.”

Scientists have long believed that not much was happening inside Mars.

The planet has a very weak magnetic field. The magnetic field of the planets is usually generated in the interior of the planet, e.g. By a dynamo, which is a rotating, convective, and electrically conductive fluid that converts kinetic energy into magnetic energy, a rotating magnetic field in space around the planet.

The absence of a magnetic field on Mars indicates a lack of activity. It even means a lot; Moreover, the magnetic field is of mortal and vital importance. Here on Earth, a magnetic field protects us from cosmic radiation that would simply destroy life. Radiation levels on Mars are much higher even though it is far from the sun.

“Life on Earth has become possible thanks to the magnetic field, with its ability to protect us from cosmic radiation. “Without a magnetic field, the known form of life would simply be impossible,” Tkalcic said.

However, when NASA’s static probe InSight landed on Mars in November 2018 and began observing the “heartbeat” of Mars, we learned something really remarkable: Mars is roaring. By this time, InSight had already recorded hundreds of earthquakes (even “earthquakes”), which were enough to create a detailed map of the Martian entrails.

Tkalcic and his colleague, Geophysicist of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Weijia San, decided to look for impulses that may have gone unnoticed in the InSight data. They used two non-traditional methods that have only recently adapted to geophysics and started hunting for thrusts in InSight data.

Based on the already known patterns of the nine earthquakes, they discovered 47 new seismic events coming from the Kerebrus-Fossa region of Mars. This region is a system of fissures formed by anastomoses as a result of crustal collapse.

Most of these new seismic events resembled the two distinctive earthquake waveforms recorded in Kerebrus-Fossa in May and July 2019, indicating that small tremors are related to magnitudes.

Then, the researchers tried to find out the cause of the tremors. As their analyzes showed, no characteristic was observed in the time distribution between the shocks, and reasons such as the influence of Phobos, a satellite of Mars, were ruled out.

“We have found that these tremors occur continuously throughout the day, with the aftershocks previously reported and reported by NASA occurring at night when the planet is quieter,” Tkalcic said.

According to him, therefore, we can assume that the cause of these 47 recorded tremors in the depths of the Kerebrus-Fossa region is the movement of rocks melted in the mantle of Mars.

Previous analyzes of the surface characteristics of Kerebrus-Fossae have revealed that this region has been volcanically active until recently, for the last 10 million years.

The activity revealed by Sani and Tkalcic, which linked them to repetitive movements of magma in the mantle of Mars, also indicates that Mars is volcanically and seismically more active than previously thought.

If so, this result will affect our perception of Mars’ past and future.

“Earthquakes indirectly help us to understand whether convection is taking place inside the planet; And if this convection occurs, what is it like; “What mechanism can interfere with the formation of a magnetic field on Mars?”

According to him, the study of the magnetic field of Mars, how it evolved and at what point in the history of the planet disappeared – is crucial for future missions and critical if scientists one day want to establish human life on the red planet.

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