Khan et al. “Upper mantle structure of Mars from InSight seismic data”

Published on Science

Volume 373, Issue 6553

July 2021

Cite: Khan, A., Ceylan, S., van Driel, M., Giardini, D., Lognonné, P., Samuel, H., Schmerr, N.C., Stähler, S.C., Duran, A.C., Huang, Q. and Kim, D., 2021. Upper mantle structure of Mars from InSight seismic data. Science, 373(6553), pp.434-438. DOI: 10.1126/science.abf2966


For 2 years, the InSight lander has been recording seismic data on Mars that are vital to constrain the structure and thermochemical state of the planet. We used observations of direct (P and S) and surface-reflected (PP, PPP, SS, and SSS) body-wave phases from eight low-frequency marsquakes to constrain the interior structure to a depth of 800 kilometers. We found a structure compatible with a low-velocity zone associated with a thermal lithosphere much thicker than on Earth that is possibly related to a weak S-wave shadow zone at teleseismic distances. By combining the seismic constraints with geodynamic models, we predict that, relative to the primitive mantle, the crust is more enriched in heat-producing elements by a factor of 13 to 20. This enrichment is greater than suggested by gamma-ray surface mapping and has a moderate-to-elevated surface heat flow.

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