Teemu Öhman

At Tswaing impact crater in South Africa.

Teemu Öhman, impact geologist, PhD

Me and my planetary science

Impact cratering, “the most fundamental process that has taken place on the terrestrial planets” as Gene Shoemaker put it, has been my main scientific passion since the late 1990s.

I have an unfashionable holistic approach to cratering: I believe that in order to try to understand craters and the impact process, you need to attack the problem from all possible angles. Therefore, I’ve studied the petrographic evidence of shock metamorphism, carried out field work in craters all around the world, done some geochemical research, hauled geophysical equipment in craters, worked in petrophysical labs, studied craters on other heavenly bodies using a number of different types of datasets, and read quite a bit about the history of cratering studies and planetary science, including the early days of manned spaceflight.

In addition to impact craters, I find planetary tectonics and volcanism extremely fascinating as well. On the more conventional terrestrial side of things, the Archean and (Paleo)proterozoic evolution of the Fennoscandian shield is a topic I would gladly know much more about.

My passion stems from my childhood, as I’ve been an avid moongazer and a space nerd since I was about twelve years old. I also believe it’s the scientists’ moral obligation to inform the public about their research. Thus, I have been doing a lot of different types of outreach work over the years. It’s not only good fun, but you always learn something new from it.


  • Järviseutu-Seura, Craterlake Geotrail -project, Lappajärvi, Finland: 2016–present
  • Arctic Planetary Science Institute, Rovaniemi, Finland: 2013–present
  • Past
    • Universities Space Research Association, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, USA: postdoctoral fellow 2010–2013, no-cost visiting scientist 2013–2015
    • University of Oulu, Department of Geosciences, Oulu, Finland: 1995–2009
    • Geological Survey of Finland, Rovaniemi, Finland: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000

Top five field study sites

  • Lappajärvi impact structure, Finland, 2000–present
  • Söderfjärden impact structure, Finland, 2001– 2010
  • Popigai impact structure, arctic Russia, 2004
  • Saarijärvi impact structure, Finland, 1997–2003
  • Kara impact structure, arctic Russia, 2001

Top five special courses

  • CLSE: Lunar Analogue Training at Meteor Crater, Arizona & the San Francisco Volcanic Field, Arizona, USA, 2011
  • NordForsk – NIR: Impact Cratering in the Planetary System – Cratering Mechanisms and Shock Metamorphism, Lappajärvi – Söderfjärden – Keurusselkä impact craters, Finland, 2010 (I was a co-organizer, a lecturer and a field guide)
  • ESIR: Geophysical Research Campaign at the Ilumetsa Impact Craters, Estonia, 2005 (I was a co-organizer and a lecturer)
  • ESF-IMPACT: Short Course on Impact Geophysics, Dellen crater, Sweden, 2003
  • ESF-IMPACT: ESF Short Course on Impact Metamorphism, Ries crater, Germany, 2000

Top five publications

  • Öhman T., Kramer G. Y. & Kring D. A., 2014. Characterization of melt and ejecta deposits of Kepler crater from remote sensing data. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 119:1238−1258, doi: 10.1002/2013JE004501. (link to article)
  • Öhman T. & McGovern P. J., 2014. Circumferential graben and the structural evolution of Alba Mons, Mars. Icarus 233:114–125, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.01.043. (link to article)
  • Öhman T. & Preeden U., 2013. Shock metamorphic features in quartz grains from the Saarijärvi and Söderfjärden impact structures, Finland. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 48(6):955–975, doi: 10.1111/maps12112. (link to article)
  • Öhman T. & Kring D. A., 2012. Photogeologic analysis of impact melt-rich lithologies in Kepler crater that could be sampled by future missions. Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets 117:E00H08, doi: 10.1029/2011JE003918. (link to article)
  • Öhman T., Aittola M., Kostama V.-P., Raitala J. & Korteniemi J., 2008. Polygonal impact craters in Argyre region, Mars: Implications for geology and cratering mechanics. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 43(10):1605–1628. (link to article)

Other achievements, positions of trust, etc.

  • Manager of LPI’s Lunar Impact Crater Database (2011 – present)
  • Member of the LPI Career Development Award panel (2012).
  • Co-chair for impact cratering and planetary geology session in the 29th Nordic Geological Winter Meeting in Oslo, Norway, 11.–13. January 2010.
  • Coordinator of the European Student Impact Researchers (ESIR) network, 2004–2012.
  • Reviewer for Icarus (2016, 2015, 2014), Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2016, 2013), Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften (German Journal of Geosciences; 2016), Planetary and Space Science (2014), Tectonophysics (2014), Geosciences (2014), Lithosphere (2012), Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finland (2012), Geologica Acta (2011), and Meteoritics & Planetary Science (2010).