Jarmo Korteniemi

At Hrunagil lava fall, Fimmvörðuháls, Iceland.

Jarmo Korteniemi, planetary geomorphologist

Me and my planetary science

I am by heart a wonderer: If a strange feature in the landscape catches my eye, I need to explain it (or at least try). This path has lead me to study many things, such as volcanoes, glacial features, sedimentology, ground water, climate change, as well as impact cratering – and the interactions of the aforementioned.

I have worked intimately with most datasets from Mars probes, especially analyzing images taken at visible and near-IR wavelengths. Analyzing space probe imagery combines my two main passions: observing nature and my graphical tendencies. I love geomorphologic mapping, especially using complementary spectral datasets.

I worked on the Mars Express HRSC (High Resolution Stereo Camera) science team from the target planning phase (ca. 2000) onwards, both at DLR and Uni of Oulu. At UCSC I studied how the recent changes in the Martian climate are represented in geomorphology.

The bottom line is that space stuff is just darn neat. I always felt that way, ever since I picked up my first science fiction book. The downside is that my possibilities to travel to Mars are more limited than say John Carter’s, and I have to contend with visiting terrestrial analogue sites.

I am also inclined towards public outreach. Hence, my day job is in fact science journalism. By training I am both an astronomer-geoscientist and a science communicator.


  • Science journalist, freelance: ca. 2012–present
  • Tiedetuubi.fi, online science journal: 2013–present
  • Arctic Planetary Science Institute, Rovaniemi, Finland: 2014–present
  • Past:
    • University of Oulu, Planetology research group, Oulu, Finland: 1996–2014
    • University of California in Santa Cruz, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Santa Cruz, CA, USA: 2010–2011
    • Universities Space Research Association, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX, USA:  2009
    • University of Münster (WWU), Institute of Planetology, Münster, Germany: 2008–2009
    • German Aeroscpace Center (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany; 2002
    • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Optoelectronics, Machine vision group, Oulu, Finland: 1999
    • Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, Aeronomy, Sodankylä, Finland: 1998

Top five publications

Top five field study sites

  • Iceland (volcanoes, glaciers, coastal plains; Vatnajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull, Reykjanes, Grímsvötn, Katla; 1988, 2008, 2012)
  • Mojave desert (volcanism and sedimentary processes; 2010)
  • Impact craters all around (Barringer Crater 2017; Lappajärvi & Söderfjärden 2000, 2001, 2010, 2016; Lumparn 2015; Keurusselkä 2010; Kaali 2008; Ries & Steinheim 2008; Ilumetsa & Tsõõrikmäe 2005; Karikkoselkä 2000)
  • Island volcanism* (Santorini, Greece, 2006; Madeira, Portugal, 2016)
  • Coastal desert and the Andes mountains, Peru, 2005*

* enthusiastically explored whilst on holiday 😉

Top five special courses and excursions

  • Nordic – NASA / Hawai’i: Water, Ice and the Origin of Life in the Universe, Eyjafjallajökull – Myrdalsjökull – Torfajökull, Iceland, 2012
  • NordForsk – NIR: Impact Cratering in the Planetary System – Cratering Mechanisms and Shock Metamorphism, Lappajärvi – Söderfjärden – Keurusselkä impact craters, Finland, 2010
  • SYKLI: Geologic diversity of Saaremaa, Estonia, 2008
  • ESIR: Geophysical Research Campaign at the Ilumetsa Impact Craters, Estonia, 2005
  • ESA/Novespace: 3rd student parabolic flight campaign, Bordeaux, France, 2000

Other achievements, positions of trust, etc.

  • Reviewer for Icarus (2012), NASA (2012), NSF (2013), Journal for Geophysical Research (2013), Springer references (2013-2015; 2019), and National Geographic (2015)
  • Member of the editorial board of the Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms (Hargitai & Kereszturi (eds.), Springer, 2015); 2nd edition 2019-2020.
  • Organizing committee member for international science conferences (Nordic Geological Winter Meeting, Oulu, Finland, 2006; EPSC, Münster, Germany, 2008) and conference session chair (Vernadsky-Brown Microsymposium, Moscow, Russia, 2005 and 2007; EPSC, Berlin, Germany, 2006)
  • Teaching in-depth planetology courses and supervising M.Sc. and B.Sc. theses