Data Services Newsletter

Volume 23 : No 1 : Spring 2021

Release of the new IRIS mars-event Service

for Accessing the Seismic Event Catalog from the InSight Mission to Mars
InSight Lander
The InSight Martian lander depicted with deployed SEIS instrument. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

We are proud to announce the release of the mars-event web service, an implementation of the FDSN-event specification adapted for Martian seismic events known as marsquakes. It provides an interface to the Mars Seismic Catalogue from the InSight mission to Mars.

Additional information, including API documentation and catalog references, is found on the service Help page:

To aid with query construction, a fully-featured URL builder is available:

The Mars Seismic Catalogue is a planetary-wide catalog generated from the observations of a single seismometer, which NASA has been operating on the surface of the Red Planet since 2019. Each day three megabytes stream from Mars through the Deep Space Network to the computers of SISMOC (SeIS on Mars Operation Center) hosted by the French space agency CNES in Toulouse. The front-line team of the Marsquake Service (MQS) led and operated by ETH Zürich watch their monitors, identifying and characterizing events from the raw seismic signal. New and revised events are released every three months in updated catalog versions. These are made available at IPGP Paris and IRIS in-sync with waveform data releases (SEIS Data Service, 2019). Each version may be accessed from the mars-event web service, although the latest is queried by default.

Users of the mars-event web service will find many of the features and outputs to be similar to the FDSNWS-event web service. By default, the service returns the catalog as provided in QuakeML BED 1.2 format, with Mars-specific data prefixed under the mars: namespace. Additional information includes single-station back azimuth and distance values, Mars event types, Mars location qualities, and SNR values describing environmental conditions near Lander like wind and pressure. Just as with earthquakes, marsquakes can have multiple origins and multiple magnitude determinations. By default, the QuakeML output shows all origins and magnitudes, whereas the text output shows only the preferred origins and magnitudes. The service contains parameters to allow filtering by comma-separated lists of magnitude type, event type, and location quality.

SEIS is generating high quality data that is well within acceptable noise levels (Lognonné, 2020). Over 700 thermal cracking events and nearly 500 marsquakes are included in the latest release, and locations have been determined for three events: S0173a was the first and a milestone for the InSight; S0235b occurred during the quietest hours of the early afternoon and was followed thirty-five minutes later by its presumed aftershock, S0235c (Clinton et al, 2021). Magnitude scales for Mars have been recalibrated with data collected since the landing to better reflect these actual observed events (Giardini et al, 2020). Surely, if more breakthroughs are made, these will be updated in future iterations of the catalog.


IRIS Data Services would like to thank the following for their support in making the mars-event web service possible:

  • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for their financial support
  • InSight’s Marsquake Service (MQS), a collaborative ground service operation led by Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, for regular event catalog deliveries, technical support, and guidance
  • The Education and Public Outreach (EPO) staff of IRIS for their project management and guidance
  • NASA, CNES, their partner agencies and Institutions (UKSA, SSO, DLR, JPL, IPGP-CNRS, ETHZ, IC, MPS-MPG) and the flight operations team at JPL, SISMOC, MSDS, IRIS-DMC and PDS for providing SEED SEIS data


Clinton, J. F., Ceylan, S., van Driel, M., Giardini, D., Stähler, S. C., Böse, M., Charalambous, C., Dahmen, N. L., Horleston, A., Kawamura, T., Khan, A., Orhand-Mainsant, G., Scholz, J.-R., Euchner, F., Banerdt, W. B., Lognonné, P., Banfield, D., Beucler, E., Garcia, R. F., … Stott, A. E. (2021). The Marsquake catalogue from InSight, sols 0–478. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 310, 106595. doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2020.106595

Giardini, D., Lognonné, P., Banerdt, W. B., Pike, W. T., Christensen, U., Ceylan, S., Clinton, J. F., van Driel, M., Stähler, S. C., Böse, M., Garcia, R. F., Khan, A., Panning, M., Perrin, C., Banfield, D., Beucler, E., Charalambous, C., Euchner, F., Horleston, A., … Yana, C. (2020). The seismicity of Mars. Nature Geoscience, 13(3), 205–212. doi:10.1038/s41561-020-0539-8

Lognonné, P., Banerdt, W. B., Pike, W. T., Giardini, D., Christensen, U., Garcia, R. F., … Margerin, L. (2020). Constraints on the shallow elastic and anelastic structure of Mars from InSight seismic data. Nature Geoscience, 13(3), 213–220. doi:10.1038/s41561-020-0536-y

InSight Mars SEIS Data Service. (2019). SEIS raw data, Insight Mission. IPGP, JPL, CNES, ETHZ, ICL, MPS, ISAE-Supaero, LPG, MFSC. doi:10.18715/SEIS.INSIGHT.XB_2016

by Autumn Johnson (IRIS Data Management Center) , Rob Casey (IRIS Data Management Center) and Rick Benson (IRIS-DMC)

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