Thesis topics in Geology and Geophysics
Below is a complete list of thesis topics available in the Geology and Geophysics Master's programme. The theses are generally assumed to be written in English, though topics that include a bold F are intended to be written in Finnish, and those with a bold F and a bold E are intended to be written in Finnish or English. In addition, each topic has a coloured tag to indicate the study track or tracks that are most closely connected to the topic. The list of tags is:

Below is a complete list of thesis topics available in the Geology and Geophysics Master's programme. The theses are generally assumed to be written in English, though topics that include a bold F are intended to be written in Finnish, and those with a bold F and a bold E are intended to be written in Finnish or English. In addition, each topic has a coloured tag to indicate the study track or tracks that are most closely connected to the topic. The list of tags is:

- Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology
- Palaeontology and Global Change
- Petrology and Economic Geology
- Solid Earth Geophysics

NOTE: The topic you select does not need to come from the study track you have selected. As long as you have discussed the topic with the potential supervisor(s), you're free to select the topic of greatest interest!

Thesis topics for 2020

  • - Sulphur compounds in deep groundwater in the shale formation of the Liminka area /Syvän pohjaveden rikkiyhdisteet Limingan alueen savikivimuodostumassa (preferably in English, mahdollista tehdä myös suomenkielinen gradu)
    Possibly 3-4 months paid contract with GTK in summer 2021 (kesäharjoittelija).  In addition, costs from field work and analysis of the collected samples will be covered
    Supervision: Riikka Kietäväinen (GTK), Kirsti Korkka-Niemi (GTK/HY)

  • - Suolaiset kalliopohjavedet ja niiden alkuperä /Characterization and the origin of saline groundwater in bedrock (F, E)  
    Possibly includes a small grant
    Supervision: Kaisa Turunen (GTK), Riikka Kietäväinen (GTK), Kirsti Korkka-Niemi (GTK/HY)

  • - Physical and chemical heterogeneity on waste rocks watering in a real scale pile (E)
    Mine waste modeling, Comsol software
    Supervision: Muhammad Muniruzzaman (GTK)

  • - Environmental effects of drilling chemicals in deep bedrock drilling hole/ Kairauskemikaalien ympäristövaikutukset Kuusamon syväreiässä (F, E)
    Supervision: Antti Pasanen (GTK), Riikka Kietäväinen (GTK), Lotta Purkamo (GTK)

  • - Groundwater recharge estimation in Finland/ pohjaveden muodostumisen määrä Suomessa (F, E)
    Supervision: Olli Sallasmaa (GTK), Kirsti Korkka-Niemi (GTK/HY)

  • - Groundwater - surface water interaction in mining environments (F, E)
    Supervision: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi (GTK/HY), Antti Pasanen (GTK)

  • - Natural geochemical and isotopic tracers in hydrogeology (F, E)
    Supervision: Nina Hendriksson (GTK), Anniina Kittilä (GTK, Kirsti Korkka-Niemi (GTK/HY)

  • - Hyvinkään Kytäjärven kuormitushistorian selvittäminen sedimenttitutkimusten avulla (F)
    Ohjaus: Seija Kultti, A.-L.Kivimäki (VHVSY/HY), Heli Vahtera (VHVSY), Emilia Koivisto

  • - Quaternary history of Lauhavuori / Lauhavuoren maaperägeologia (F, E)
    Supervision: Niko Putkinen (GTK), Good skills in GIS is needed

  • - Glacier erosion in the hard bed zones of Finland Lake District Ice Stream Lobe (F, E)
    Supervision: Niko Putkinen (GTK)

  • - Tuusulanjärven pintasedimentin alueellinen geokemiallinen vaihtelu (F)
    Ohjaus: Juhani Virkanen, Seija Kultti ja Emilia Koivisto

  • - Tuusulanjärven pintasedimentin alueellinen geokemiallinen vaihtelu (F, E)
    Ohjaus: Seija Kultti, Emilia Koivisto, ja Anu Kaakinen

  • - Vanhankaupunginlahden geokemiallinen tila
    Ohjaus: Seija Kultti ja Juhani Virkanen.

  • - Kolorimetrin käyttö rehevöityneen järven kunnostustarpeen arvioinnissa
    Ohjaus: Seija Kultti ja Juhani Virkanen

  • - Ensimmäisen Salpausselän sedimenttisuggessio, geofysikaaliseen aineistoon (GPR) perustuva geologinen 3D-malli
    Ohjaus: Seija Kultti, Emilia Koivisto, Anu Kaakinen

  • - Prediction of geochemical evolution of water and gas during lab scale multibarrier bioreactor test (F, E)
    Supervision: Riikka Kietäväinen (HY/GTK)

  • Multapakan dyynialueen jääkauden jälkeinen kehityshistoria/ Postglacial development of Multapakat Dune Field (F, E)
    Supervision: Mia Kotilainen, Anu Kaakinen

  •  Ilmastonmuutoksen vaikutus dyynialueiden eroosioherkkyyteen – esimerkkeinä Onnistaipale ja Multapakat (F, E)
    Supervision: Mia Kotilainen, Anu Kaakinen

  • - Hiidenveden fosforikierto: sedimentaatio, resuspensio ja sisäinen kuormitus
    Kuvaus: Hankkeessa Hiidenveden sedimenttien reaktiiviset fosforivarannot ja huokosvesien fosfaattiprofiilit. Hankkeeseen voi sisältyä 4kk:n palkka (Länsi-Uudenmaan vesi ja ympäristö)
    Ohjaaja: Tom Jilbert

  • - Climatic drivers of the global human distribution during the Last Glacial Maximum (F, E)
    Description: Understanding how climate has constrained human distribution and how these constraints have changed over the evolutionary history of Homo is important to understand the process whereby humans have become the dominant force in global change. This thesis will analyse the relationship between climate and human distribution during the Last Glacial Maximum (c. 21ka). The study will include modelling of the human climate niche during the LGM using species distribution modelling tools and existing climate model and archaeological data. Archaeological dataset will be compiled through literature and database surveys. Special skills learned during the work include: species distribution modelling, routines to deal with large state-of-the-art climate model simulation datasets and palaeo proxy datasets (archaeological in this case), as well as understanding of the potential and limits of such large data.
    Supervisors: Miikka Tallavaara, co-supervisor Miska Luoto

  • Climate change and gaps in human occupation history in the Levant between 300ka and 40ka (F, E)
    Description: The Levant and Arabian peninsula are critical regions in terms of Out-of-Africa range expansions of different human species. These are the key areas also for understanding the early interaction between species. This thesis will analyse the impact of climate changes on the Pleistocene human occupation history in Israel and Jordan. The focus will be especially on the role of climate in occupational gaps visible in the fossil and archaeological records. The study will be based on multi-proxy palaeoclimate data and archaeological and human fossil data on human presence in the area. These data will be compiled through surveys of literature and existing databases. Special skills learned during the work include: routines to work with and evaluate long-term multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental data and datasets of radiometric and luminescence dates, as well as techniques to evaluate the effects of sampling and taphonomy on temporal frequency distributions of fossil and archaeological material.
    Supervisor: Miikka Tallavaara, co-supervisor Heikki Seppä

  • Patterns of European palaeoclimate in the Holocene and Eemian interglacial periods
    Description: This project prepares a data synthesis of European palaeoclimate based on fossil pollen data available in open databases. No fieldwork, computationally oriented (R, GIS, big data, machine learning).
    Supervisor: Sakari J. Salonen

  • - Age and origin of the mysterious crinoid limestones from Åland
    Description: On the Åland islands rare erratic boulders with masses of crinoid fossils occur. Strontium isotopes and microfacies can help to solve the puzzle of their origin.
    Supervisor: Björn Kröger

  • - Spatial distribution and clustering of benthic skeletal organisms in a shallow marine limestone on Vormsi Island, Estonia
    Description: This topic would involve field work, statistical analysis and modelling of fossil occurrences from Ordovician sediments. Underlying question: How did reefs evolve?
    Supervisor: Björn Kröger

  • - Peatland dynamics-climate feedbacks
    Description: Peatlands play a key role in global carbon (C) cycle and they are sensitive to environmental changes. Briefly, dry peatlands are effective C sinks but wet peatlands also release C to the atmosphere. We do not yet fully understand how direct the relationship between climate and C dynamics is. There is growing interest to model C budgets back in time to facilitate creation of predictive models. But how to capture the uniqueness of peatlands which are regulated by various forcing factors? Modeling needs exact information on e.g. vegetation, hydrology and peat growth rates. To contribute to the development of past and predictive C models this project provides such data derived from a series of high-latitude study sites which form a circum-arctic transect. Study areas have experienced several notable temperature changes during the last centuries. These changes provide a valuable setting to investigate mire-climate relationship. Observed changes in mire dynamics will be compared with climate data.
    This topic will include field work during summer 2021
    Supervisor: Minna Väliranta

  • - Thesis topic themes: Lake and marine ecosystems and their responses to Holocene climate and landscape changes, north boreal to high arctic sites (Fennoscandia, Canada, Greenland)
    Methods: sediment proxies (microfossils, geochemical tracers such as biogenic silica, C/N elemental and isotopic composition, pigments), sediment sample preparation, light microscopy, possibility to participate in a field campaign in summer 2021
    Supervisor: Maija Heikkilä

  • - Origin and stability of the surface landforms on a raised bog in Valkmusa national park, eastern Finland (involves fieldwork in Finland)
    Supervisor: Heikki Seppä, co-supervised by Niina Kuosmanen

  • - Using charcoal piece analysis for fire history reconstruction in the boreal coniferous forest (involves fieldwork in Finland)
    Supervisor: Heikki Seppä, co-supervised by Niina Kuosmanen

  • - A novel approach for vegetation biomass reconstructions using pollen data from a lake sediment core from southern Finland (involves fieldwork in Finland)
    Supervisor: Heikki Seppä, co-supervised by Niina Kuosmanen

  • - Quantifying the rate of temperature change in Europe during the rapid climate changes of the late-glacial period (no fieldwork)
    Supervisor: Heikki Seppä

  • - Spatio-temporal climate reconstructions using new lipid biomarker methods (no fieldwork)
    Supervisor: Heikki Seppä

  • - Holocene Thermal Maximum as an analogue for the predicted future warming in Finland
    Supervisor: Heikki Seppä

  • - Developing digital standards for topographic methods to analyse fossils
    Background: In paleontological research the analyses of teeth is central in the study of mammalian evolution and paleoecology. Analyses of complex shapes is a methodological challenge, and Helsinki has been in the forefront of developing topographic methods (GIS derived) to analyse teeth three-dimensionally. Now multiple apps are available to measure dental complexity, but we lack suitable ways standardize the results.
    Thesis work synopsis: Virtual, computer generated standards are generated that are tested with different software packages together with virtual models of real teeth. A pipeline and recommendation is developed for comparison of measurements obtained using different scanners and software. The work will be carried out in Kumpula (Geosciences and Physics) and Viikki (Institute of Biotechnology).
    Supervisor: Jukka Jernvall

  • - Identifying the Pleistocene hypercarnivorous canids based on carnassial morphometrics – Pleistoseenin petomaiset koiraeläimet (Canidae) - tunnistus ja taksonomia raateluhampaiden morfometrian avulla
    Description: Would involve travel to museums
    Supervisor: Suvi Viranta

  • - A palaeo-diet study using angle-based mesowear of fossil mammals from X (details to be agreed on)
    Description: Would involve travel to appropriate museum (e.g., Uppsala. Vienna, Stuttgart).
    Supervisor: Mikael Fortelius, co-supervised by Juha Saarinen

  • - An ecometric analysis of fossil mammals from Y (details to be agreed on)
    Description: Would involve travel to appropriate museum (e.g., Uppsala. Vienna, Stuttgart).
    Supervision: Mikael Fortelius

  • - The fossil rhinoceros remains from Orce, early Pleistocene of Andalucia, Spain
    Description: Would involve travel to the collections in Granada and/or participation in the field work at Orce (always in July)
    Supervision: Mikael Fortelius

  • - The fossil rhinoceros remains from OBUU, Western Mongolia – taxonomic and palaeoenvironmental context
    Description: The work is based on two existing fossil rhino mandibles, discovered from Western Mongolia in 2019
    Supervisors: Mikael Fortelius and Anu Kaakinen

  • - Trace element characterization of titanite in the Kumpula drill core
    Description: Rare Earth Element and Major element geochemistry of titanites in the existing Kumpula drill core samples
    Supervision: Beier, Kukkonen, Abersteiner

  • - Trace element characterisation of chromites from mafic-ultramafic lithologies
    Supervision: Christoph Beier

  • - The chemical evolution of olivine xenocrysts in Heard Island samples, Australia

    Description: Petrology and major and trace element geochemistry of olivine xenocrysts in existing Heard island samples (Oceanic Plateau samples)
    Supervision: Beier, Abersteiner

  • - Platinum group elements in Antarctic norite samples
    Description: Petrology and major and trace element geochemistry of olivine xenocyrsts in existing Heard island samples (Oceanic Plateau samples)
    Supervision: Beier, Abersteiner

  • - The evolution of Cr-spinel hosted melt inclusions in 2Ga Finnish komatiite samples
    Description: Major, trace element and PGE geochemistry of Cr-spinels and major and trace element geochemistry of melt inclusions, ± including volatiles
    Supervision: Beier, Abersteiner, Hanski

  • - Sulphur isotopes in Karoo flood basalts: the record of magmatic sulphides (F, E)
    Supervision: Arto Luttinen

  • - Phenocryst archives of magmatic differentiation in the Karoo large igneous province (F, E)
    Supervision: Arto Luttinen

  • - Bedrock mapping of the major metavolcanic belts of the Vuosaari region, and classification of the domains using portable XRF instrument
    Supervision: Arto Luttinen, Pasi Heikkilä

  • - Geochemistry of Jurassic mafic dykes in Schirmacher Oasis, Antarctica
    Supervision: Arto Luttinen, Sanni Turunen

  • - Mineral chemistry of the Ylämaa hybrid rocks
    Supervision: Aku Heinonen

  • - Petrography, mineral chemistry, and petrogenesis of the Kuivikonmäki orbicular rock
    Supervision: Aku Heinonen

  • - The stability of orthopyroxene in komatiitic liquids
    Description: Some occurences of komatiites seem to contain primary orthopyroxene, but it is not well known what are the exact conditions and compositional constraints that make it a stable phase. Are high pressures required? Is assimilation required? The student would investigate these possibilities using state-of-the art thermodynamic-geochemical modeling tools (MELTS and Magma Chamber Simulator). The suggested research has international relevance and, in a case of a successful Thesis project, it could be transfromed into a scientific publication in which the student would be one of the authors.
    Supervision: Jussi Heinonen

  • - Thermodynamic constraints for assimilation in basaltic and picritic magmas
    Supervision: Jussi Heinonen

  • - "Provide your own igneous petrology subject for which you would use Magma Chamber Simulator or MELTS modeling tools"
    Supervision: Jussi Heinonen

  • - Petrology of mantle xenoliths from Southern African kimberlites (Oleg von Knorring collection)
    Supervision: Petri Peltonen, Arto Luttinen

  • - Geochemical fingerprinting of gold deposits in Ostrobothia Gold Camp, Finland
    Supervision: Petri Peltonen, Gold exploration project with industry support

  • - Distribution of cobalt and tungsten in Kopsa Au-deposit, Ostrobothnia, Finland
    Supervision: Petri Peltonen, Gold exploration project with possible industry support

  • - Geochemistry of moss – new tool for mineral exploration under cover
    Supervision: Petri Peltonen, Gold exploration project with possible industry support

  • - Chemical and stable isotope composition of ground waters from 1800-metres-deep drill hole at Kevitsa mine, Northern Finland
    Supervision: Petri Peltonen, Riikka Kietäväinen, GTK-Boliden

  • - Green Mining: Distribution of gold and cobalt in the tailings of historical Haveri gold mine, Ylöjärvi, southern Finland
    Supervision: Petri Peltonen (support from Renlund Foundation)

  • - Petrology/mineralogy/geochemistry topic on Kuusamo Deep Drill Hole
    Supervision: Petri Peltonen ,co-operation with GTK

  • - Topic on Ni-Cu-PGE exploration in Northern Finland (TBD)
    Supervision: Petri Peltonen

  • - Geochemistry, mineralogy and petrogenesis of the Leppävirta "hornblende gneisses" (F, E)
    Supervision: Tapani Rämö, Tapio Halkoaho (GTK). GTK 2021 summer internship included.

  • - Petrology and mineral chemistry of the 2.1 Ga Tanhua mafic intrusion, Savukoski, Lapland (F, E)
    Supervision: Tapani Rämö, Jukka Konnunaho (GTK), Tuomo Karinen (GTK).

  • - Heat and mass transfer in coaxial drill hole casings for geothermal energy applications
    Supervision: Ilmo Kukkonen

  • - Inverse solution of conductive heat transfer in 3D anisotropic medium: Heating experiment in an underground research laboratory
    Supervision: Ilmo Kukkonen, Posiva

  • - Hydrothermally altered mineralized systems: Seismic reflection properties of rocks
    Supervision: Kukkonen, Koivisto

  • - Effect of geological structure on rock stress: a modelling approach (using Matlab and Coulomb software)
    Supervision: Kukkonen, Whipp

  • - Cosmogenic isotopes in age dating of glacial bedrock morphology
    Supervision: Kukkonen, Whipp, Kultti

  • - Interpretation of fission track age data in the 2.5 km deep Outokumpu drill hole
    Supervision: Kukkonen, Whipp

  • - Hydraulic properties of crystalline rocks: Injection tests in deep boreholes
    Supervision: Kukkonen

  • - Prediction of permafrost evolution under warming climate: a modelling approach
    Supervision: Kukkonen

  • - Processing and analysis of seismic reflection data from exploration and mining camps
    Supervision: Koivisto, Kukkonen

  • - Thermal properties of meteorites
    Supervision: Kukkonen, Kohout

  • - Inversion of subsurface drill hole temperature profiles for ground surface temperature history (combination of geothermal data analysis and glaciation dynamics)
    Supervision: Kukkonen

  • - Induced seismicity in enhanced geothermal systems
    Supervision: Kukkonen, Korja

  • - Geoneutrinos and radiogenic heat production of the Earth
    Supervision: Kukkonen, Veikkolainen

  • - Fracture orientation analysis of the Outokumpu deep drill hole with acoustic televiewer data
    Supervision: Kukkonen

  • - Low temperature thermochronology Fission track & (U-Th)/He methods
    Supervision: Whipp, Kukkonen

  • - Modeling of thermochronological data
    Supervision: Whipp, Kukkonen

  • - Study of microscopic shock effects in meteorites – insight into collision history of asteroids
    Supervision: Kohout

  • - Use of artificial intelligence in characterization of asteroid spectra to derive their mineral composition
    Supervision: Kohout

  • - Development of hyperspectral imager calibration procedure for ESA Hera mission
    Supervision: Kohout

  • - Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Environmental magnetic study on carbonate sequence recording the K-T transition (Brazil)
    Supervision: Salminen

  • - Seismicity and tectonothermal environment of the Wiborg rapakivi batholith
    Supervision: Veikkolainen, Seismology

  • - Geophysical properties of the Pyhäsalmi area
    Supervision: Veikkolainen, Seismology

  • - Applicability of Open quake software to Finnish conditions
    Supervision: Mäntyniemi, Seismology

  • - Automatic assessment of seismic intensity for felt earthquakes in Finland
    Supervision: Mäntyniemi, Seismology

  • - Harmonization of internet macroseismology in Fennoscandia
    Supervision: Mäntyniemi, Nordic colleagues

  • - Projects associated with the analysis of seismic data collected by 100+ stations around the 2018 and 2020 geothermal reservoir stimulations in Otaniemi/Espoo
    Supervision: Hillers, Seismology

  • - Projects associated with crustal and fault zone monitoring and imaging using ambient noise correlations
    Supervision: Hillers, Seismology

  • - Magnitude-yield relationships for underwater explosions
    Supervision: Tiira, Uski

  • - Detection and identification of glacier based seismic signals in Antarctica using unsupervised machine learning
    Supervision: Tiira, Seismology

  • - Automatic detection of seismic events in urban areas, comparison of methods
    Supervision: Tiira, Seismology

  • - Seismic signal onset estimation by combining different methods and machine learning
    Supervision: Tiira, Seismology

  • - Study of dissimilarities of microearthquakes in concise earthquake populations with self-organizing maps
    Supervision: Tiira, Seismology

  • - Ablative subduction in the Andes: An alternative mechanism for removal of mantle lithosphere?
    Supervision: Whipp

  • - Quantifying rates of bedrock landsliding in mountainous regions and their implications for landscape erosion
    Supervision: Whipp

  • - Effects of orographic precipitation on mountain evolution in 3D
    Supervision: Whipp

  • - Where does landslide-derived sediment go and how long does it take?
    Supervision: Whipp

  • - Mapping erosion in steep mountain landscapes using detrital thermochronology
    Supervision: Whipp, international colleagues

  • - Paleoproterozoic plateaus: Implications for lithospheric evolution and crustal metamorphism
    Supervision: Whipp

  • - Application of probabilistic seismic event location software, with a focus on the impact of station geometry and station position uncertainty on location uncertainty
    Supervision: Vuorinen, Seismology

  • - Quantitative interpretation of geophysical data from Sakatti Ni-Cu-PGE deposit for aiding hydrogeological 3D modelling (for mine planning)
    Supervision: Koivisto, Korkka-Niemi, Kultti

  • - Comparison of results of anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS), anisotropy of remanent magnetization (ARM) and micro tomography
    Supervision: Satu Mertanen (GTK)

  • - Comparison of IP results measured with MAFRIP (frequency domain) and SCIP (time domain)
    Supervision: Satu Mertanen (GTK)

  • - Factors affecting the measuring results of seismic p-wave velocities in the laboratory
    Supervision: Satu Mertanen (GTK)

  • - Re-processing and 3D modelling of reflection seismic data of HIRE formations
    Supervision: Suvi Heinonen (GTK)

  • - Use of reflection seismic data to model near surface layers and structures in the groundwater area
    Supervision: Suvi Heinonen (GTK)

  • - Testing of different migration algorithms in the last stages of processing reflection seismic data
    Supervision: Suvi Heinonen (GTK)

  • - Theoretical modelling of seismic response of geological structures of interest
    Supervision: Suvi Heinonen (GTK)

  • - Can airborne TEM data observe conductors better than GTK's airborne data?
    Supervision: Sami Niemi, Eija Hyvönen (GTK)

  • - Joint use of seismics, petrophysics and AMS in studies of a Ni-Cu-PGE ore
    Supervision: Satu Mertanen, Suvi Heinonen, Hanna Leväniemi, Fredrik Karell (GTK)

  • - Analysis of airborne national magnetic data
    Supervision: Jochen Kamm (GTK)

  • - Usage of machine learning for petrophysical and geochemical analysis
    Supervision: Satu Mertanen, Fredrik Karell (GTK)

  • - Koulukiinteistön maalämpökenttä jäässä? Seuranta ja miksi jäässä. Lämpöpumppu, lämmönsiirto. Lämmönsiirron mallinnus. Modelling, why this is frozen.
    Supervision: Teppo Arola (GTK)

  • - Geofysikaalisen tulkinnnan herkkyystarkastelu ja epävarmuus mallinnuksessa. Uncertainty and sensitivity in data integration and modelling. Mainly electrical, galvanic.
    Supervision: Taija Huotari, Heikki Vanhala (GTK)

  • - Joint interpretation of airborne and ground EM data from the Outokumpu area
    Supervision: Jochen Kamm (GTK)

  • - Anisotropy (if any) and characterization of flake graphites vs uneconomic/impure graphites + implications for geophysical exploration
    Supervision: Hanna Leväniemi (GTK)