Full Name
Senthil Kumar P

Principal Scientist

R&D Group
Geology, Remote Sensing and GIS


Planetary Geology and Geophysics

  Academic Identity

Dr. P. Senthil Kumar received B.Sc and M.Sc degrees from University of Madras and Ph.D from Osmania University. Dr. Kumar is currently a Principal Scientist at National Geophysical Research Institute in Hyderabad. Dr. Kumar’s research areas include planetary geology (Moon, Mars and Venus), meteorite impact cratering, continental crustal thermal structure, Precambrian geology and tectonics, and application of near-surface geophysics in groundwater exploration. He started a new research activity of planetary geology at National Geophysical Research Institute in 2004 and that is now developed into a promising new research group. He is systematically studying the meteorite impact structures on Earth and other planets (Mars, Venus and the Moon) to understand the shock-induced impact deformation, fragmentation of target rocks and the role of pre-impact structures on the final crater shapes. He elucidates the geologic history of planetary surfaces through a detailed digital geological mapping using various orbiter and rover datasets and the state-of-the-art image processing and geographic information systems. For example, his geologic map of Lada Terra Quadrangle in the Venus' southern hemisphere has been prepared at 1:5,000,000 and published jointly by NASA and USGS. He is also a co-investigator of a NASA project on the geologic mapping of Valles Marineris, Mars. His research projects on Moon and Mars funded by ISRO has yielded many new research findings such as central mound secondary craters, gullies and landslides, lobate scarps and seismically produced boulders tracks. His work on Deccan basalt province as a terrestrial analogue of Mars has yielded many new results and useful comparisons to landscapes and geologic processes on Mars. He actively participates in the studies of data obtained/to be obtained by Chandrayaan-1 and 2 and Mars Orbiter Mission of ISRO.

Prior to his entry to planetary studies, he established a large database and knowledge of how radioactive heat producing elements distributed in the continental lithosphere of the Indian Shield and quantified the amount of heat contributed by the crustal radioactivity to the overall surface heat flow. In addition, he contributed to the development of near surface geophysical studies in the application of ground water exploration and other mineral exploration studies.

He has been a recipient of IGU Krishnan Gold Medal, INSA Young Scientist Medal and the Associate of the Indian Academy of Sciences, in addition to other professional recognitions.


  • Project Leader; ISRO sponsored project on Chandrayaan-2 Terrain mapping camera and Orbiter High Resolution Camera image data analysis for understanding lunar surface processes (2019-2023): Rs. 24.3 Lakhs
  • Project Leader; ISRO sponsored project on Mars Orbiter Mission data analysis (2016-20)–Impact cratering processes on Mars: Rs. 24.5 Lakhs
  • Work Package Leader, CSIR funded project (2018-2020): Structure and tectonics of northern Singhbhum mobile belt and adjoining shear zones: Rs. 15 Lakhs
  • Project Leader, SAC (ISRO) sponsored project (2015-2018): Geological analysis of lunar cones, domes and lava flows: Implications for volcanic evolution of the Moon: Rs. 14.5 Lakhs.
  • Project Leader, PLANEX (ISRO) funded project (2010-2014): Geological analysis of young impact craters on the Moon: Rs. 28 Lakhs

MS Krishnan Gold Medal, Indian Geophysical Union, 2013

Young Scientist Medal, Indian National Science Academy, 2008

Associate of Indian Academy of Sciences, 2007

BOYSCAST Fellowship, DST, Government of India, 2006

CSIR-UGC (NET) JRF/SRF Fellowship, 1997

Cromarty Prize, University of Madras, 1996 (University First Rank)

Rupali Mohanty, P. Senthil Kumar, K. Jaya Prasanna Lakshmi, Vivek Krishnan, Abhisek Mishra, G. Sree Sai Karthik (2023),
Evidence for trail forming ejecta boulder falls around fresh simple impact craters at the lunar Orientale multi-ring basin and implications for ballistic ejecta sedimentation on the Moon, Icarus, Volume 405, 2023, 115723,

Krishnan, V., and P. Senthil Kumar, (2023). Long-lived and continual volcanic eruptions, tectonic activity, pit chains formation, and boulder avalanches in northern Tharsis region: Implications for Late Amazonian geodynamics and seismo-tectonic processes on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 128, e2022JE007511.

Mishra, A., and P. Senthil Kumar (2022), Spatial and temporal distribution of lobate scarps in the Lunar South Polar Region: Evidence for latitudinal variation of scarp geometry, kinematics and formation ages, neo-tectonic activity and sources of potential seismic risks at the Artemis candidate landing regions. Geophysical Research Letters, 49, e2022GL098505,

Rupali Mohanty, P. Senthil Kumar, S.T.G. Raghukanth, and K.J.P. Lakshmi (2020) The Long-lived and recent seismicity at the lunar Orientale basin: Evidence from morphology and formation ages of boulder avalanches, tectonics and seismic ground motion, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125, e2020JE006553. https://doi. org/10.1029/2020JE006553.

K.J.P. Lakshmi and P. Senthil Kumar (2020) Physical properties of basalt ejecta boulders at Lonar crater, India: Insights into the target heterogeneity and impact spallation processes in basalt with application to Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125, e2020JE006593. 10.1029/2020JE006593

P. Senthil Kumar, Rupali Mohanty, K.J.P. Lakshmi, S.T.G. Raghukanth, A. Dhabu, R.P. Rajesekar, and Rajeev Menon (2019), The seismically active lobate scarps and co-seismic lunar boulder avalanches triggered by 3rd January 1975 (MW 4.1) shallow moonquake, Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 7972-7981, DOI: 10.1029/2019GL083580.

P. Senthil Kumar, N. Krishna, K.J.P. Lakshmi, S.T.G. Raghukanth, A. Dhabu and T. Platz (2019), Recent seismicity in Valles Marineris, Mars: Insights from young faults, landslides, boulder falls and possible mud volcanoes, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 505, 1 January 2019, 51-64.

P. Senthil Kumar, U. Sruthi, N. Krishna, K.J.P. Lakshmi, R. Menon, Amitabh, B.G. Krishna, D.A. Kring, J.W. Head, J.N. Goswami and A.S. Kiran Kumar (2016) Recent shallow moonquake and impact-triggered boulder falls on the Moon: New insights from the Schrödinger basin, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 121, 147-179, doi:10.1002/2015JE004850.

Krishna and P. Senthil Kumar (2016) Impact spallation processes on the Moon: A case study from the size and shape analysis of boulders and secondary craters of Censorinus Crater, Icarus, 264, 274-299, DOI:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.09.033.

P. Senthil Kumar, K.J.P. Lakshmi, N. Krishna, R. Menon, U. Sruthi, V. Keerthi, A. Senthil Kumar, D. Mysaiah, T. Seshunarayana, and M.K. Sen (2014) Impact fragmentation of basalt at Lonar Crater, India: Implications for impact cratering processes in basalt, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 119, 2029-2059, DOI:10.1002/2013JE004543.

P. Senthil Kumar and J.W. Head (2013) Geologic map of the Lada Terra (V-56) quadrangle, Venus, US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3246, scale 1:5,000,000, 11 p.,

P. Senthil Kumar, V. Keerthi, A.S. Kumar, J.F. Mustard, B.G. Krishna, Amitabh, L.R. Ostrach, D.A. Kring, A.S.K. Kumar, and J.N. Goswami (2013) Gullies and landslides on the Moon: Evidence for dry-granular flows, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 118, 206–223, doi:10.1002/jgre.20043.

Rupali Mohanty (2016-2021): PhD awarded

Abhisek Mishra (2019-2024): PhD in progress

Vivek Krishnan (2019-2024): PhD in progress 

Meenakshi Yellapragada (20

CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute:

Principal Scientist, CSIR-NGRI, Hyderabad, 2014-Present

Senior Scientist, CSIR-NGRI, Hyderabad, 2010- 2014

Scientist, CSIR-NGRI, Hyderabad, 2006-2010

Junior Scientist, CSIR-NGRI, Hyderabad, 2002-2006

CSIR (NET)-JRF/SRF, CSIR-NGRI, Hyderabad, 1997-2002


Faulty of Academy of Scientific & Innovative Research:

Associate Professor, since 2014

Assistant Professor, up to 2014 


Visiting Positions:

Brown University, USA: 2007-2008

Lunar and Planetary Institute, USA: 2007-2008


Adjunct Faculty:

Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, Chennai: 2019-Present


Geological Society of India

American Geophysical Union