New studies have revealed previously undetected earthquakes below the Martian surface. Scientists believe that this could be the explanation for ongoing volcanic activity.
The planet has very little in the way of a magnetic field. Planetary magnetic fields are usually generated inside the planet which is termed as dynamo. This is a rotating, convicting, and electrically conducting fluid that converts kinetic energy into magnetic energy, spinning a magnetic field out into space.
So lack of magnetic field suggested a lack of activity. Magnetic field can mean the difference between life and death. On Earth, the magnetic field protects us from cosmic radiation that might destroy life. On Mars, radiation levels are much higher, even though it is more distant from the Sun.
When NASA’s InSight lander arrived in November 2018 and started listening for Mars’ heartbeat. There is was rumbling. Till date InSight has detected hundreds of marsquakes. This is enough to give us a detailed map of the Martian interior.
Tkalčić and his colleague, geophysicist Weijia Sun of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, wanted to look for quakes that might have gone unnoticed in the InSight data. They used two unconventional techniques that were recently applied to geophysics.
Based on nine templates of known marsquakes, the pair detected 47 new seismic events, coming from a region on Mars called the Cerberus Fossae – a system of fissures created by faults that have pulled the crust apart.
Their analysis found that there was no pattern to be found in the timing of the quakes, ruling out causes such as the influence of Martian moon Phobos. So it can be assumed that the movement of molten rock in the Martian mantle is the trigger for these 47 newly detected marsquakes beneath the Cerberus Fossae region. This suggests that Mars is more volcanically and seismically active than we thought.
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