@Azrael: I suspect you are right. I seem to remember that you find shock quartz, etc. in the rocks around an impact crater, and I would have thought the fracture pattern would be radial to the impact. Still, I'm not an expert. I remember discussing with Gerald Roberts (lead author) the possibility that the seismic activity had been produced by aftershocks meteor impact, rather than geological activity internal to mars. Gerald checked and concluded that the impact record was not consistent with this explanation. Furthermore, we believe that this is not one event, associated with an impact, but a series of separate quakes over an extended period. You can see this in some of the boulder tracks that cross over earlie boulder tracks now partially obscured by dust.
It's been an interesting couple of days but it seems to be calming down again. I've not be (partially) responsible for something going viral on the net that way before. It's interesting to watch. It seems to have all kicked off when the Christian Science Monitor (!) picked up on the original JGR press release that came out through the AGU. They contacted Gerald and wrote quite a balanced piece. Then it went nuts. At some point after NASA, Nature and Time magazine, Fox news
ran it. Then people starting extrapolating. I think two of my favorites are the write up in High Pants
(odd name, and what's with the guy with the M16), where we are starting an initiative to terraform mars, and in earth changes
where we have apparently found an indicator that the progenitor of the apocalypse, Planet X, is heading our way and we are in the biblical end times. As an agnostic Jew it brings a tear to my eye.
I'm surprised (and to be honest a bit disappointed) that the bbc hasn't picked up on it. I'd have been tempted to push it their way myself, but it appears the only way for a pleb like me to reach one of their science correspondents is via twitter, and I d'nae tweet, ye ken?
I'm going to write out an action plan today and discuss it with Gerald. The I'll put it in the drop box and we can work out who wants to try what. I'll get back to you all as soon as I can....