OSLO, Oct 3 — Deep inside a mountain on a remote Norwegian island are more than 860,000 varieties of seeds, kept, literally, on ice for preservation should a global catastrophe occur.
Carved into rock and ice, the Global Seed Vault is safely buried into the Plataberget Mountain in Svalbard, Norway, not far from the North Pole. Also known as the “doomsday vault,” the facility was created by scientist, conservationist and biodiversity advocate Cary Fowler to safeguard one of the planet’s most vulnerable and valuable resources: plants.
Currently, 864,309 samples are housed in the vault. The plan is to house 4.5 million varieties of crops, with an average of 500 samples of each variety. The vault can hold a maximum total of around 2.5 billion seeds.
The vault opened in 2008 and is nearly 394 feet (120 metres) inside the mountain in Svalbard, the furthest north a person can fly on a scheduled flight, making it both remote and accessible. The facility was designed to last 1,000 years and to withstand a range of catastrophes including climate change.
The area is geologically stable, with low humidity levels, and is well above sea level, keeping the seeds dry even if the ice caps melt. Permafrost and thick rock ensure that the seed samples will remain frozen at minus 18 degrees Celsius even without power. — Reuters