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Dr. Brandon Johnson

Associate Professor Dr. Brandon Johnson
Curriculum Vitae

Associated website(s): Geology & Geophysics , Planetary Sciences

Personal Website

Google Scholar


  • 2013  PhD, Physics, Purdue University
  • 2009  BS, Physics, Michigan Technological University

Research Interests

My work is focused mainly on impact cratering, which is arguably the most pervasive geologic process in the solar system. The importance of impact cratering in the solar system is difficult to overstate. Planets, moons, and asteroids are built through a series of mergers and collisions. After planets and moons have accreted subsequent impacts dominate the early evolution of planetary surfaces. Although I am primarily focused on impact cratering and impact processes, my research and teaching also includes interest in the geophysics of planets and the various processes that modify planetary surfaces. In addition to impact cratering and impact processes, I am interested in the reduction of friction during long run-out landslides and earthquakes; the early solar system and meteorites; the breakup of comets; crater erasure; and understanding the lunar gravity field.

Selected Honors

  • 2018   Ronald Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science, AGU
  • 2013   Lark-Horovitz Award, for outstanding research in physics, Purdue University
  • 2012   Nininger Meteorite Award, Center for Meteorite Studies, Arizona State University


  • Wiggins, S. E., C. Johnson , T. J. Bowling, H. J. Melosh, E. A. Silber. Impact Fragmentation and the Development of the Deep Lunar Megaregolith. J. Geophys. Res. Planets 124, 941–957 (2019).
  • Johnson, B. C. , J. C. Andrews-Hanna, G. S. Collins, A. M. Freed, H. J. Melosh, M. T. Zuber. Controls on the formation of lunar multiring basins. Geophys. Res. Planets 123, 3035–3050 (2018).
  • Johnson, B. C. , S. Campbell. Drop height and volume control the mobility of long runout landslides on the Earth and Mars. Geophys. Res. Lett. 44, 12091–12097 (2017).
  • Johnson, B. C. , K. J. Walsh, D. A. Minton, A. N. Krot, H. F. Levison. Timing of the formation and migration of giant planets as constrained by CB chondrites. Science Advances 2, e1601658 (2016).
  • Johnson, B. C. , D. M. Blair, G. S. Collins, H. J. Melosh, A. M. Freed, G. J. Taylor, J. W. Head, M. A. Wieczorek, J. C. Andrews-Hanna, F. Nimmo, J. T. Keane, K. Miljković, J. M. Soderblom, M. T. Zuber. Formation of the Orientale Lunar Multiring Basin. Science 354, 441–444 (2016).
  • Johnson, B. C. , T. J. Bowling, A. J. Trowbridge, A. M. Freed. Formation of the Sputnik Planum basin and the thickness of Pluto’s subsurface ocean. Res. Lett. 43, 10068–10077 (2016).
  • Johnson, B. C. , S. Campbell, H. J. Melosh . The reduction of friction in long runout landslides as an emergent phenomenon. J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surf. 121, 881–889 (2016).
  • Johnson, B. C. , D. A. Minton, H. J. Melosh, M.T. Zuber . Impact jetting as the origin of chondrules. Nature 517, 339–341 (2015).
  • Freed, A. M., C. Johnson , D. M. Blair, H. J. Melosh, G. A. Neumann, R. J. Phillips, S. C. Solomon, M. A. Wieczorek, M. T. Zuber. The Formation of Lunar Mascon Basins from Impact to Contemporary Form J. Geophys. Res. Planets 119, JE004657 (2014).
  • Johnson, B. C. , T. J. Bowling, H. J. Melosh. Jetting during vertical impacts of spherical projectiles. Icarus 238, 13–22 (2014).
  • Johnson, B. C. , H. J. Formation of melt droplets, melt fragments, and accretionary impact lapilli during a hypervelocity impact. Icarus 228, 347–363 (2014).
  • Melosh, H. J., A. M. Freed, C. Johnson, D. M. Blair, J. C. Andrews-Hanna, G. A. Neumann, R. J. Phillips, D. E. Smith, S. C. Solomon, M. A. Wieczorek, M. T. Zuber . The Origin of Lunar Mascon Basins. Science 340, 1552–1555 (2013).
  • Johnson, B. C. , H. J. Melosh. Impact spherules as a record of an ancient heavy bombardment of Earth. Nature 485, 75–77 (2012).
  • Johnson, B. C. , H. J. Melosh. Formation of spherules in impact produced vapor plumes. Icarus 217, 416–430 (2012).

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