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"Marsquake" registered

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:10 pm
by brian livesey
Almost five months after Nasa's Insight lander reached the surface of Mars, its seismic detector has registered a small quake. Unlike Earth, the red planet doesn't have tectonic plates, but quakes are produced by cooling and contracting in the martian crust, causing the release of stress points.
Professor Tom Pike of Imperial College, London, who heads the team of British scientists involved in the research, said: "This is what we were waiting for - the first quivering of the planet picked up by our sensors. We worked hard to develop the most sensitive silicon sensors on Earth to send to Mars as part of the Seismic Experiment for Internal Structure .... Mars, although much quieter than Earth, is giving us seismic signals that we are able to clearly detect."
The 2.6 magnitude quake was registered on April 6; a deeper quake would yield more information about Mars's interior. Marsquakes are similar to the many thousands of moonquakes that have been recorded between 1969 and 1977 by Apollo seismometers.