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Biggest Quake Ever Detected on Another Planet Happened on May 4 on Mars

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the biggest quake ever to take place here on Earth happened on May 22, 1960, in Chile. Known as the Valdivia Earthquake, it had a magnitude of 9.5, lasted for 10 minutes (that’s huge as far as earthquakes go), and triggered tsunamis that struck Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, and the Aleutian Islands.
NASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on Mars 8 photos
NASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on MarsNASA InSight detects its largest ever quake on Mars
Earth is, of course, not the only planet to have quakes. In fact, chances are they happen on all rocky worlds, and we know that because on at least one of them we humans have gear in place able to detect these motions.

Mars is the planet in question, and the specialized gear sent there to measure the ground motions of the planet is called InSight. Having arrived there in 2018, the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport gear, by its full name, has already revealed previously unconfirmed things about the planet.

This month though, InSIght entered the history books by detecting a quake NASA calls “the biggest ever detected on another planet.” It took place on May 4 and is believed (confirmation is still pending) to have had a magnitude of 5.

That may not seem like much here on Earth, as our planet gets plenty of those on a daily basis, but according to NASA that’s “close to the upper limit of what scientists hoped to see on Mars during InSight’s mission.”

So far, InSight has felt more than 1,313 quakes on Mars, with the previous most powerful one rated at magnitude 4.2 in August 2021.

“Since we set our seismometer down in December 2018, we’ve been waiting for ‘the big one,’” said in a statement Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which leads the mission.

“This quake is sure to provide a view into the planet like no other. Scientists will be analyzing this data to learn new things about Mars for years to come.”

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