Scientists are recreating the first Marsquake on Earth to find out what it would feel like

The surface of Mars observed by HiRISE in 2017NASA

  • Scientists are using data from the first Marsquake recorded earlier this year to recreate the quake here on Earth in a simulator.
  • Understanding how ground motion works on Mars can help researchers understand the structure of the Red Planet.
  • During the simulation, they found that Marsquake were somewhere in between Moonquakes and Earthquakes — but there ares till a lot of other pieces to the puzzle still pending.
Mars might be 225 million kilometers away but scientists have long tried to recreate the environment of the Red Planet here on Earth — and now, they're doing it with quakes.

InSight on MarsNASA

Scientists are trying to a feel of Mars by recreating the first Marsquake, which took place on April 6 this year using a simulator — the ' shake room' — at the Swiss Seismological Service (SSS).

The team in charge of the Insight mission's Marquake Service at ETH Zurich, a Swiss research university, is recreating the tremors and seismic waves by using data collected by the seismometer on Mars.

The goal of Insight is to understand the structure of the planet of Mars. And the primary way that we are going to do that with InSight, is by measuring Marsquakes.

John Clinton, Head of the Marsquake Service at ETH Zurich

The goal of the simulation was to compare the seismic activity on Mars to the seismic activity on Earth and the Moon.

Getting a feel for Mars

In order to feel the earthquake to its full extent, the scientists amplified the signals from the first Marsquake by 10 million to make distant tremors, which were recorded by InSight, to feel up close. On the actual Red Planet, the amplifications are extremely low.

The visual simulation of the first MarsquakeNASA


"Mars isn't as simple as we had hoped. The ground motion is not like we see on Earth," said Martin van Driel, one of the seismologists at ETH Zurich working on the project.

In the initials findings, the researchers feel that Marsquakes are somewhere halfway between earthquakes on and Moonquakes. But, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that still have to be put in place, according to the team.


Normally, it's the movement of tectonic plates that cause quakes. But, Mars doesn't have any plates. Even if it did, it was millions of years ago.

Despite the planet being plate free, it's not shake free. So Insight's mission isn't just to monitor the rumblings on Mars but help figure out what could be causing them.

See also:
NASA detects a quake on Mars for the very first time — using sound

There’s a Pac-Man-shaped crater on Mars

Mars Orbiter Mission completes 4 years: In pictures
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