Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences People at EPS


Peter L. Olson


130 Olin Hall
142-4 Olin Hall (Lab)
(410) 516-7707


Academic Background | Research Interests | Bio Sketch | Publications |  CV

Mailing Address:
130 Olin Hall
34th and North Charles Streets
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland 21218

Academic Background
1977 Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley


Research Interests


The focus of my research is to understand the dynamics of Earth's interior, including both the mantle and the core. I am especially interested in how these two major parts of the Earth interact to produce plate tectonics, deep mantle plumes, and the geomagnetic field.

My approach is to combine theory, numerical models, and laboratory fluid dynamics experiments, and to use these to interpret global geophysical data pertaining to the deep interior of the Earth and other planets.

Lately I have focused on the dynamics of Earth's core, particularly the magnetohydrodynamic processes by which the geomagnetic field is generated in the fluid outer core, and  modified by the solid inner core and the lower mantle. I have also been collaborating on environmental problems related to the Earth's slow carbon cycle and the rapid melting of polar ice shelves. This work is being done in collaboration with colleagues around the world and with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows here at Johns Hopkins.

Examples of my recent research include: 

Numerical Models of the Geodynamo
Polar Vortex Motion in the Core
Zonal Winds generation on the Giant Planets
Rotating Convection


Johns Hopkins University