Underground research facilities for science, research and development


Underground research facilities for science, research and development
Co-organized by EMRP2/SM2
Convener: Jari Joutsenvaara | Co-convener: Marcus Laaksoharju
| Tue, 24 May, 18:00–18:28 (CEST)
Room 0.51
Public information:

The history of underground research facilities has started with physics experiments looking for shelter from cosmic noise. Nowadays underground facilities are multi- and interdisciplinary, providing a home for geosciences, physics, engineering, biology, architecture, analogue space studies and social sciences to name a few. 
We are welcoming all underground research facilities, laboratories, test sites alike to bring your sites to the light.

Presentations: Tue, 24 May | Room 0.51

Chairpersons: Jari Joutsenvaara, Marcus Laaksoharju
Virtual presentation
Aldo Ianni

Deep Underground Laboratories (DULs) are large research infrastructures with a minimum rock overburden equivalent to one km water equivalent. In DULs the flux of muons from cosmic rays is reduced by several order of magnitude with respect to the surface. This allows to perform research on very rare events, such as exotic radioactive decays, double beta decays, low energy neutrino and dark matter interactions. The phenomenon of neutrino oscillations has been discovered in DULs back in 1998. Solar neutrinos were first observed in a DUL in 1968. As of today thanks to research carried out in DULs over four decades we have studied in detail the energy production mechanisms in the sun’s core. In 1987 neutrinos from a core collapse supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud were observed confirming our basic understanding of this high energetic event. DULs, at present, are equipped with more sensitive and better performing experiments to improve significantly these early studies. The large SuperKamiokande detector in Japan can observe as many as ten thousand events for a core collapse supernova at the center of our galaxy. The Borexino experiment in Italy has observed CNO neutrinos which contribute to only 1% of the energy production in the sun but are very important for more massive stars. All these crucial measurements could have not been possible without operating experiments in a deep underground site.

In the last decade the research horizon in DULs has expanded to include gravitational waves, geophysics, astrobiology, and biology in underground environments.

DULs are equipped with facilities to measure low levels of radioactivity by means of different techniques. This offers a unique opportunity to study living organism in a low radioactivity environment, namely with a significant reduction of cosmic rays and neutrons with respect to surface. DULs are being used by a large community of scientists ranging from astrophysicists, particle physicists, geophysicists, and biologists. There are 14 DULs in operation worldwide which correspond to about one million cubic meters excavated.

In the talk a brief review of DUL’s main features and research activities will be discussed. 

How to cite: Ianni, A.: Science and technology in deep unerground laboratories, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5010,, 2022.

Virtual presentation
Eija-Riitta Niinikoski, Jari Joutsenvaara, Julia Puputti, Ossi Kotavaara, Marton Magyar, and Marko Holma

Underground laboratories provide unique environments for science, research and business, but many are not known or stay underutilised. Some of the underground laboratories are located or are planned to be built around the Baltic Sea region. In this work, the main outcomes of the EUL and the BSUIN projects will be presented.

The Baltic Sea Underground Innovation Network (BSUIN [1]) started in 2017 (ended in 12/2020), bringing together 13 (initially 14) partners with the common goal to help the underground laboratories to overcome the underutilisation and develop their practices, business models and marketing for attracting new users. The Empowering the Underground Laboratories Network Usage in the Baltic Sea Region (EUL, 1-12/2021 [2]) tested the developed tools and, with the feedback, helped the project partners to develop the tools further. The tools included the EUL Innovation platform (, the customer management relationship and marketing strategies, and social media coverages with various approaches to find the optimal practices for the platform and the actual laboratories.

The underground laboratories [3] participating in the BSUIN and EUL projects are:

  • Callio Lab, located at a 1.4-km deep base metal mine in Pyhäjärvi, Finland,
  • ÄSPÖ Hard Rock Laboratory, SKB´s final repository research site for spent nuclear fuel, Oskarshamn, Sweden,
  • Ruskeala Underground Laboratory, located at the Ruskeala Mining Park, Sortavala, Russia,
  • Educational and research mine Reiche Zeche, Freiberg, Germany,
  • Underground Low Background Laboratory of the Khlopin Radium Institute, located at the heart of St. Petersburg, Russia, and
  • The Conceptual Lab developed and coordinated by the KGHM Cuprum R&D centre, Poland.

The EUL and BSUIN projects are funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme.

[1]         J. Joutsenvaara, “BSUIN - Baltic Sea Underground Innovation Network,” EGUGA, p. 11212, 2020, Accessed: Jan. 11, 2022. [Online]. Available:

[2]         E.-R. Niinikoski, “Empowering Underground Laboratories Network Usage in the Baltic Sea Region,” in EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts, 2021, pp. EGU21--14791.

[3]         M. Ohlsson et al., “Six Underground Laboratories (ULs) Participating in the Baltic Sea Underground Innovation Network,” EGUGA, p. 22403, 2020, Accessed: Jan. 11, 2022. [Online]. Available:

How to cite: Niinikoski, E.-R., Joutsenvaara, J., Puputti, J., Kotavaara, O., Magyar, M., and Holma, M.: Empowering Underground Laboratories Network Usage, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8784,, 2022.

Virtual presentation
Krzysztof Fulawka, Piotr Mertuszka, Witold Pytel, Marcin Szumny, and Lech Stolecki

The current EU policy emphasizes the necessity of the development of more safe and efficient mineral raw exploitation methods. The higher extraction rate and lowest possible environmental footprint of mining activities are the main goals of many international projects. Still, as recent experiences have shown it is challenging to develop new technologies in standard laboratory conditions. This is due to the inability to reproduce the environments present in most of the underground sites. Therefore post-mining underground workings seem to be the most suitable places for the development, validation and testing of new, more efficient mining technologies.

Such activities are continuously performed in KGHM Polish Copper mines, which are the test sites for numerous national and international research projects aimed at improving machinery, monitoring systems, mining methods and safety of work in underground conditions.  

In the present research, the recent experiences of KGHM CUPRUM company in terms of the development of new mining technologies fitted to Polish underground copper mines have been presented.

How to cite: Fulawka, K., Mertuszka, P., Pytel, W., Szumny, M., and Stolecki, L.: Underground workings as a most suitable place for the development of mining technologies - a case study from Polish copper mines, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-6987,, 2022.

Virtual presentation
Julia Puputti, Jari Joutsenvaara, Ossi Kotavaara, and Eija-Riitta Niinikoski

One of the northernmost deep underground laboratories (DULs) in Europe can be found at Callio Lab, operating at the Pyhäsalmi Mine in Finland. What began as purely an underground physics centre in the early 2000s has been expanded into an international, multi- and transdisciplinary research centre known as Callio Lab. Its activities are coordinated by the University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute (KSI). Callio Lab is a founding member of the European Underground Laboratories Association, a part of the DULIA network, and a part of the national FIN-EPOS research infrastructure network. [1].

With underground mining ending in spring 2022, Callio Lab is a key element of the repurposing activities conducted under the CALLIO - Mine for Business concept. CALLIO will continue activities at the mine-site until at least 2025 [2]. Owing to the unique environment and circumstances, Callio Lab research can be conducted underground at seven deep underground laboratories found at various depths, as well as above-ground [3].

Callio Lab has conducted and facilitated research in fields ranging from particle physics and geosciences to underground food production and remote sensing. The operating environment presents versatile opportunities also in the study of circular economy, muography, and space and planetary sciences. Notable projects at Callio Lab have included the international EIT RM funded MINETRAIN, Interreg Baltic Sea Region funded BSUIN, and H2020 funded GoldenEye projects [4-6].

The operating environment at Callio Lab is well-known due to characterisation activities conducted during previous projects, datasets acquired from decades of research, and an extensive microseismic monitoring network. Callio Lab has a logistically ideal location, and the DULs themselves can be accessed via the incline tunnel or elevator shaft. The existing infrastructure and facilities, in-depth understanding and application of underground risk management and conditions, and well-established operating methodology ensures Callio Lab the capacity to successfully operate and facilitate a wide range of activities. [1,3].

[1] Callio Lab,, 11 Jan 2022

[2] Mine for Business – Callio – Pyhäjärvi, Finland,, 1 Jan 2022

[3] Callio Lab – Underground Center for Science and R&D,, 11 Jan 2022

[4] MINETRAIN,, 8 Jan 2021

[5] Baltic Sea Underground Innovation Network,, 11 Jan 2022

[6] GoldenEye EU H2020 funded project,, 11 Jan 2022

How to cite: Puputti, J., Joutsenvaara, J., Kotavaara, O., and Niinikoski, E.-R.: Sky-high opportunities deep underground – Callio Lab research centre, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11619,, 2022.