NORSAR's core competence lies within seismology and applied geophysics. NORSAR carries out research and consulting projects worldwide, based on these disciplines. As an extension to this work, NORSAR develops software solutions for both research and industry.

Over the past 50 years, their research has contributed to innovative methods in automatic data processing and analysis of seismic data. NORSAR constantly works with new ideas and ways to further develop their expertise. In this context, they promote geoscientific research for the benefit of Norwegian society and for customers around the world.

NORSAR uses their expertise to solve a wide range of tasks. The most important is the observance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), where NORSAR is responsible for the operating the Norwegian contribution in of one of the world's most advanced monitoring systems, which they use to listen for earthquakes and possible nuclear explosions.