Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens (20 pics)

Posted in       9 Mar 2016       4441      

This vault is designed to store valuable seeds from crops all over the world if some worst-case scenario happens on Earth, like climate change, nuclear war or some environmental degradation or some other global crisis. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a highly secured seed bank that is situated on the Norwegian island between the mainland and the North Pole.

 

1 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

Svalbard is the northernmost place in the world that still has scheduled flights, according to The Crop Trust, the group in charge of the global seed-bank system.

2 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

It's more than 400 feet above sea level, and there's little moisture in the air.

3 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

Since the vault is buried in permafrost, it could stay frozen at least 200 years, even if the power were to go out.

4 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

The vault has seeds from more than 60 institutions and almost every country in the world, collected from the more than 1,500 global gene banks that store samples of seeds from all the crops native to the region they're in.

5 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

The Svalbard vault is the central fail-safe for all those seed banks.

6 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

Backups are sent to Svalbard in case a disaster ruins the samples at the home seed bank.

7 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

That way, the genetic diversity of crops around the world is kept safe.

8 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

Seed samples are sent to Svalbard in large boxes, which are scanned with X-rays after they get to the island to make sure that they have nothing but seeds inside.

9 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

The rooftop and part of the facade of the building is a work of art, since all public buildings in Norway are legally required to have art.

10 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

The vault is unlocked only for deposits, which happen three or four times a year.

11 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

There are five doors with coded locks that anyone looking to get into the vault has to pass through.

12 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

Plus, The Crop Trust says that polar bears — which outnumber humans on the island — provide an extra "layer of security."

The warning sign says "Applies to all of Svalbard territory."

13 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

The temperature inside is kept to minus 18 degrees Celsius, cold enough to keep the sealed seeds viable for — in some cases — thousands of years.

14 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

Inside, seeds are moved to a trolley and rolled into the vault's main chamber.

15 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

So far, there are more than 860,000 samples in the vault, collected since Svalbard opened in 2008. Each sample contains 500 seeds.

16 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

But there's enough space in the vault's three main rooms to store 4.5 million samples, which would be more than 2 billion seeds.

17 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

The seeds arrive sealed in foil and are kept inside sealed boxes to prevent any spoilage.

A seed sample is filled at a center in Texcoco, on the outskirts of Mexico City.

18 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

In 2015, the ICARDA Seed Bank, which had been in Syria, withdrew samples from the vault — a first — so it could move and restore its seed bank, which had been damaged by war.

19 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

That showed that the vault could serve its function, but hopefully there will be no need for another withdrawal in the near future.

20 Giant Vault That Stores Different Types Of Seeds From Crops In Case Something Bad Happens

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