Constraints on the shallow elastic and anelastic structure of Mars from InSight seismic data

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Mars’s seismic activity and noise have been monitored since January 2019 by the seismometer of the InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) lander. At night, Mars is extremely quiet; seismic noise is about 500 times lower than Earth’s microseismic noise at periods between 4 s and 30 s. The recorded seismic noise increases during the day due to ground deformations induced by convective atmospheric vortices and ground-transferred wind-generated lander noise. Here we constrain properties of the crust beneath InSight, using signals from atmospheric vortices and from the hammering of InSight’s Heat Flow and Physical Properties (HP3) instrument, as well as the three largest Marsquakes detected as of September 2019. From receiver function analysis, we infer that the uppermost 8–11 km of the crust is highly altered and/or fractured. We measure the crustal diffusivity and intrinsic attenuation using multiscattering analysis and find that seismic attenuation is about three times larger than on the Moon, which suggests that the crust contains small amounts of volatiles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213–220
Number of pages8
JournalNature Geoscience
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2020


  • Geomorphology
  • Inner planets
  • Seismology


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