Researchers at ETH Zurich recently made an incredible discovery thanks to a strong earthquake reported by NASA's Mars InSight mission. Recorded in May 2022, this seismic event traveled across the surface of the red planet three times, providing scientists with invaluable information about the overall thickness and density of its crust compared to Earth's.
Mars has a thicker crust than the Earth and the Moon
The results obtained by the researchers showed that the crust of Mars is considerably thicker than that of the Earth and the Moon. In addition, they discovered that the main source of heat on Mars is radioactive in nature. The seismic velocities provided crucial information about the internal structure of Mars at different depths. This discovery represents the first time that a global view of the seismic structure of Mars has been obtained.
Different thicknesses in different regions of Mars
When experts used seismic waves to determine the overall average thickness of the Martian crust, they found that the density of the crust is similar in the northern and southern hemispheres, although its thickness differs considerably. By combining the new results with existing data on Martian gravity and topography, the researchers were able to determine that the average thickness of the Martian crust ranges from 42 to 56 kilometers. The Isidis impact basin was found to have the thinnest crust, with a thickness of about 10 kilometers, while in the Tharsis province, it reaches 90 kilometers.
Interesting comparisons with the Earth and the Moon
These measurements offer a valuable perspective in comparison with the Earth and the Moon. The Earth's crust has an average thickness of 21 to 27 kilometers, while the Moon's crust varies from 34 to 43 kilometers according to seismometers from the Apollo missions. This discovery confirms that the crust of Mars is considerably thicker than that of the other two celestial bodies.
In sum, this fascinating discovery offers new information on the internal structure of Mars. Combining this data with previous research on the gravity and topography of Mars will lead to a better understanding of the Red Planet. Future Mars exploration missions promise to reveal even more secrets hidden beneath its surface.
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