The planet Mars was hit by a pretty strong earthquake last week. The earthquake had a magnitude of 5.0, making it the strongest shock ever recorded on another planet.
The American Marslander InSight measured the earthquake on May 4. The InSight landed on Mars in 2018 and has since recorded over 1,300 tremors. Until last week, the strongest of these was a magnitude 4.2 earthquake in August last year.
NASA speaks of a “monstrous earthquake”. The space agency can’t yet say exactly where the quake happened and what caused the vibrations. Further research should clarify this.
Earthquakes on Mars can’t get much stronger than the latter. That’s because Mars, unlike Earth, doesn’t have moving plates that can cause tremors. Earthquakes are caused by volcanic activity on Mars.
The strongest earthquake ever recorded on Earth measured 9.6. It took place in 1960 in the Chilean province of Valdivia. The strongest earthquake ever observed in the Netherlands was measured in 1992 in Roermond and had a magnitude of 5.8.
By analyzing earthquakes on Mars, scientists hope to learn more about the internal composition of the planet.