Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

The Vault Which Stores The World's Seeds For The Apocalypse Just Flooded

The Vault Which Stores The World's Seeds For The Apocalypse Just Flooded

Norway is boosting the flood defences of its Global Seed Vault on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard after water entered the entrance tunnel a year ago.

Staff ReporterA general view of the entrance of the worldwide gene bank Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV), outside Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Norway, on February 29, 2016. The vault's entrance is being reconfigured to keep water out, and trenches are being built to drain water away. A newer report from Popular Science suggests that there's nothing to worry about, as it's merely a case of "water intrusion", as one of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault's creators calls it. Ketil Isaksen, who works at Norway's Meteorological Institute told the Norwegian newspaper Dabgladet that he was amazed at how quickly the climate has been changing on the Svalbard archipelago.

The facility, which is dug deep into Arctic permafrost, ran into unforeseen problems when record-high temperatures in the region caused said permafrost to melt, the Guardian reported. The efforts are to ensure that the world's final backup seed vault is kept safe and impenetrable.

A statement from the vault said, "The seeds are completely safe and no damage has been done to the facility".

The breach of what was meant to be a secure place for plant seeds is a worrying sign for the vault operators. What happens is, in the summer the permafrost melts, and some water comes in, and when it comes in, it freezes.

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The Doomsday Vault is about 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle and holds close to a million seed samples from all over the world. However, after the structure was contravened by the water, melting from Permafrost - caused by scorching temperature, experts now have questioned that how the structure will be capable of safeguarding the crops during harsher natural disasters and catastrophes.

The vault has seed samples, as well as duplicate samples, preserved under very specific conditions should a wide-scale tragedy ever strike the Earth.

Remediation efforts include removing power transformers from the entrance of the tunnel, allowing fewer people into the tunnel, and building waterproof walls inside the tunnel entrance, Aschim said. "It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that", Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault, told The Guardian. "We have to find solutions".

The melting occurred during the recent extraordinarily warm Arctic winter but, since the facility was created to require little monitoring and is unstaffed, officials just discovered it.

While the designers of the vault seem to have taken the possibilities of nuclear wars and global pandemics into account, they may have given too little thought to one other serious threat: global warming. She added that they are doing it for the world.

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