Norway’s Doomsday Vault Breached, Seeds Safe for Now

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( — May 22, 2017) — In order to preserve seeds for every crop required for resuming life in the event of a global catastrophe, Norwegian engineers have built a super-vault in the country’s far north, covered with ice.

Deep inside the Arctic circle, they built a structure to endure a nuclear war and protect against radiation, but it never occurred to them that they would have to deal with “extreme heat.”

The fortified vault on the Norwegian island of Svalbard, which was built to provide a backup for seed samples stored in traditional genebanks, has been flooded due to climate change and unusually high temperatures, the Guardian reported.

“This is a building for the storage of seeds, built to withstand the test of time and challenges of natural disasters or those caused by man,” according to the website of Crop Trust, an organization advocating the conservation of plant diversity.

The “bullet-proof fortress,” designed to resist all forces of Mother Nature, experienced flooding amid extremely high temperatures in the region, which caused abnormal ice melting and heavy rain.

Buried deep inside a mountain in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago, the vault could not withstand the meltwater, which leaked into the entrance tunnel, but did not reach the vault itself.

Fortunately, seeds from around the world were unharmed and the vault is currently under 24/7 watch.  

This incident has raised concerns about the seed stronghold, which is supposed to be impregnable as it is perceived as the last chance to save life on Earth in the worst case scenario.

“It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.

The incident, however, has alerted constructors to solve the problem by installing better waterproof protection and water pumps that could extract the water from the flooded areas. Also, it has given us yet another proof that nature is more powerful than anything built by man.

The “Doomsday Vault,” located about 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle, safeguards close to a million seed samples.