Open-access Finnish bedrock reflection-sounding data

Since the beginning of November 2016, those interested in the bedrock of eastern Finland have been able to check out what the bedrock looks like at a depth of 60-80 kilometres. The seismic reflection-sounding material will be available to everyone in spring.

The FIRE material (Finnish Reflection Experiment) is already world-famous, but now it will be more easily accessible. The data gathered in 2001-2003 is unique in its scope, says Research Director Pekka Heikkinen from the Seismology Institute at the University of Helsinki.

On the Open-FIRE site, you can look at the structure of the Earth’s crust along lines through Finland from north to south and from east to west.

Data looking for scientists

Pekka Heikkinen believes that, in future, the exact and precise seismic measurement data will attract more international geophysicists and geologists to study the Finnish bedrock and to use the material in their teaching.

Heikkinen, who is retiring in the new year, participated in gathering the data and now acts as a consultant in the open-source-code project led by Annakaisa Korja. At the Seismology Institute, the relational database and user interface have been built by Aleksi Aalto and Sakari Väkevä as a study project, and the geological descriptions and background material have been the responsibility of Doctor Aku Heinonen.

The Open science and research project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture combines the seismic reflection data with other open-source research data.

A method for mineral exploration?

The vibration cars and measuring instruments came from Russia. In Finland, the Geology Survey of Finland (GTK) and the University of Oulu participated, in addition to the University of Helsinki.

The line of cars trudged from end to end of Finland, and across from east to west, covering a total of 2,100 kilometres. Pekka Heikkinen and the other researchers from Finland went along with the convoy, overseeing the measurements and making sure the equipment was functioning and the data was stored as expected.

This massive measurement operation, payed for by the national debt of the Soviet Union, was unique. The total budget of the project was 17 million. Nothing like it is expected in the near future.

The project looked for information on the structure of the Earth’s crust in Finland at a depth of 50 kilometres, but at the same time, reflection sounding observations were also made closer to the surface, where the minerals are to be found. The surroundings of Outokumpu were studied in particular.