Scientists Discover the Source of The Largest Quake on Mars Ever Recorded

A team of international researchers recently worked together to uncover the strange source that triggered the most massive quake on Mars ever recorded on the red planet. Generally, Mars quakes are seismic events that vibrate the Martian surface. On May 4, 2022, the red planet witnessed the largest quake with about a magnitude of 4.7.

NASA’s InSight lander recorded that these seismic shocks lasted for about six hours. Scientists came together to conduct a new study to discover that the seismic event came from the “enormous tectonic forces within Mars’ crust.”

How Scientists Conducted the Study to discover the source of quake on Mars

Scientists from the University of Oxford led a team of international researchers to make this recent fascinating study. Space Agencies currently operating on Mars have put all their Martian orbiters to search for fresh impacts on the surface of the red planet. The last largest quake on Mars ever recorded on the surface of the red planet could have caused massive damage assuming it occurred on Earth.

However, Mars quakes occur less frequently and they generally cause smaller impacts on the Martian surface. The Martian quake on May 4, 2022, surpasses the past record held by a 4.2-magnitude quake in August 2021.

Scientists previously thought that the most seismic event that occurred on Mars was caused by a meteorite that slammed directly into the Martian surface. However, that seismic event (named ‘S1222a’) on Mars was likely triggered by a meteorite that hit the surface of Mars.

Scientists previously considered this theory as the seismic signature of the event closely resembled past quakes that occurred from meteoroid impacts. The team of researchers that conducted this study validated this hypothesis by enlisting the assistance of orbiters to closely scan the massive 144 million square kilometers of the Mars surface.

This observation focused on spotting any new impact craters. The team also looked for fresh impact craters on Mars using orbiters from many space agencies including the European Space Agency, the Chinese National Space Agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation, and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency. The scientists marveled at the outcome of the discovery.

“This is thought to be the first time that all missions in orbit around Mars have collaborated on a single project,” stated the official statement.

What The Orbiters Discovered

The orbiters conducted several months of advanced observation and found no evidence of a recent impact crater on the Martian surface. However, the investigation still gave the researchers new insight into the Mars quake.

The team concluded their research by discovering that the seismic event occurred due to the release of substantial tectonic forces that happened from within the Martian interior. The latest discovery suggests that Mars is probably more seismically active than previously assumed.

“We still think that Mars doesn’t have any active plate tectonics today, so this event was likely caused by the release of stress within Mars’ crust. These stresses are the result of billions of years of evolution; including the cooling and shrinking of different parts of the planet at different rates. We still do not fully understand why some parts of the planet seem to have higher stresses than others, but results like these help us to investigate further. One day, this information may help us to understand where it would be safe for humans to live on Mars and where you might want to avoid!” said Benjamin Fernando, lead author from the University of Oxford.

The S1222a was part of the last event studied by InSight before its mission termination in December 2022 when NASA officially lost contact with the lander because of dust particles covering its solar panels.

The team published their findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.


A team of international researchers recently worked together to uncover the strange source that triggered the most massive quake on Mars ever recorded on the red planet. This discovery has helped to improve our understanding of the Mars quake. Check out these trending space-theme Halloween customs for your loved ones from our Amazon affiliate links. Note that when you buy from Amazon from our affiliate link, we will stand the chance to earn a commission. Thanks for always supporting Future Space World.

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