History of the institute

Seismic monitoring began in Finland in 1924, when the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters donated two horizontally registering Mainka seismographs to Department of Physics, University of Helsinki. Two years later, the department also received a vertical Mainka seismograph. The seismograph station was located in the basement of the department at Siltavuorenpenger in downtown Helsinki.

In 1961, the station was reorganized to Institute of Seismology. Its establishment was driven by large nuclear tests that took place in Novaya Zemlya in late 1950s. Finland was regarded as an ideally located country for monitoring explosions taking place in the Soviet Union. Tasks of the institute include carrying out seismological observations and research, maintenance of the Finnish seismic network, taking care of Finnish international seismic cooperation, complete monitoring seismology duties mandated by authorities, and to ensure teaching in seismology.

In Institute of Seismology, structures of the bedrock of Finland as well as of other parts in Eurooe are studied using seismic refraction and reflection soundings and tomography. Important parts of the research also include regional seismicity and seismic hazard. Besides research, the institute takes care of its monitoring duties by maintaining the station network and completing analysis of daily seismic events. In addition to Finland, the institute has taken part in building seismic stations e.g. in Sambia  and Antarctica.

In 2010 the institute became a division of Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki. The institute continues its tasks like before, and particularly in research and teaching, aims at close cooperation with two other divisions of the department.