NASA’s InSight lander has already proved to be a successful mission. Sooner than expected, the rover’s seismograph gathered essential data about Mars geophysical structure. And we know now that Mars is seismically active. It was supposed to be so, from the carrier of the roman god of war name. With an activity gentler than the one on Earth, it is still more significant than the one on the Moon.
The rover recorded 174 seismic events across Mars in its mission that started in November 2018. Twenty events of the 174 had a magnitude of three or four. But the seismic activity on Mars happens way more in-depth than on earth. So, the earthquake on the red planet doesn’t feel as strong as it does on the blue one. They aren’t even earthquakes, and they are Marsquakes.
Former beliefs on Mars seismic behavior
The core of Mars is surrounded by a silicate mantle that formed many of the tectonic and volcanic features on the planet. It was thought to be dormant, but InSight lander just contradicted the prejudice.
Although Mars has no evidence of a structured global magnetic field, observations show that parts of the planet’s crust have been magnetized. Alternating polarity reversals of its dipole field are similar to the alternating bands found on Earth’s ocean floors. One theory was that these bands suggest plate tectonic activity on Mars four billion years ago before the planetary dynamo ceased to function, and the planet’s magnetic field faded.
The geological history of Mars
It can be split into three primary periods:
- Noachian period Formation of the oldest existing surfaces, scarred by many large impact craters 4.5 to 3.5 billion years ago. The volcanic upland Tharsis bulge is thought to have formed during this period, with extensive flooding by liquid water late in the period.
- Hesperian period Formation of extensive lava plains 3.5 to between 3.3 and 2.9 billion years ago.
- Amazonian period Between 3.3 and 2.9 billion years ago to the present. Olympus Mons formed during this period, with lava flows elsewhere on Mars.
Mars and its geological activity
Geological activity is still taking place on the Red Planet. The Athabasca Valles is home to sheet-like lava flows. Water flows in the Cerberus Fossae indicate equally recent volcanic activity. On February 19, 2008, images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed evidence of an avalanche.
The shield volcano Olympus Mons is an extinct volcano in the vast upland region Tharsis, which contains several other large volcanoes. Olympus Mons is roughly three times the height of Mount Everest. It is either the tallest or second-tallest mountain in the Solar System, depending on how it is measured, with various sources giving figures ranging from about 21 to 27 km high.
Valles Marineris was formed due to the swelling of the Tharsis area, which caused the crust in the field of Valles Marineris to collapse. Valles Marineris is a tectonic site. A system of canyons that runs along the Martian surface east of the Tharsis region. It is one of the largest canyons of the Solar System, surpassed in length only by the rift valleys of Earth.