Numerical modelling was applied to study the present-day state of stress and deformation under different tectonic loading conditions at the seismic BALTIC-SKJ profile in south-eastern Finland and in Estonia. The finite element method was used to solve the numerical problem. The two-dimensional model was constructed using the results from both seismic and thermal studies along the profile. The model is 700 km long and 200 km deep, and is roughly divided into an inhomogeneous, laterally layered crust and a homogeneous mantle lithosphere. Both the linear elastic and non-linear elasto-plastic rheologies were used. Elasto-plasticity was achieved by calculating a rheological strength as a function of depth along the profile. Different tectonic load cases were analysed with displacement, force and pressure type boundary conditions. Also, the effect of different strain rates was investigated. The results suggest that even with relatively low compressive stress levels the lower crust deforms in a plastic manner for a wet crustal rheology. When applying a dry crustal rheology, plastic yielding is attained only with much higher stress fields. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.