Miami Herald (Sunday)

Marsquakes offer detailed look at red planet’s interior

- BY MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer


A quake-measuring device on Mars is providing the first detailed look at the red planet’s interior, revealing a surprising­ly thin crust and a hot molten core beneath the frigid surface.

In a series of articles published this week, scientists reported that the Martian crust is within the thickness range of Earth’s. The Martian mantle between the crust and core is roughly half as thick as Earth’s. And the Martian core is on the high side of what scientists anticipate­d, although smaller than the core of our own nearly twice-as-big planet.

These new studies confirm that the Martian core is molten. But more research is needed to know whether Mars has a solid inner core like Earth’s, surrounded by a molten outer core, according to the internatio­nal research teams.

Stronger marsquakes could help identify any multiple core layers, scientists said Friday.

The findings are based on about 35 marsquakes registered by a French seismomete­r on NASA’s InSight stationary lander, which arrived at Mars in 2018. The domed seismomete­r has actually detected 733 marsquakes so far, but the 35 with magnitudes from 3.0 to 4.0 served as the basis for these studies. Most of the sizable quakes originated in a volcanic region 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away where lava may have flowed just millions of years ago.

Current measuremen­ts show Mars’ crust possibly reaching as deep as 12 miles to 23 miles (20 kilometers to 37 kilometers); the mantle extending down

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