The Doomsday Seed Vault Near the North Pole With Over 850,000 Seed Varieties

Photograph by Matthias Heyde

On 26 February 2008 the Svalbard Global Seed Vault officially opened. The seed bank is situated 120 meters( 390 ft) inside a sandstone mountain on Norway’s Spitsbergen Island, about 1,300 km (8 10 mi) from the North Pole.

To date, there are an astounding 864,309 seed potpourruss in the tomb( approx. 1.5 million distinct seed tests of agricultural crops are thought to exist globally ).

Photograph by Matthias Heyde

Photograph by Matthias Heyde

Spitsbergen was considered an ideal location because it absences tectonic activity and has permafrost, which aids preservation. It is also 130 metres( 430 ft) above sea level which intends the site would remain dry even if the ice caps melted. The total area is 1000 square meters, but simply the concrete entrance foyer is visible outside.

The vault is situated in permafrost at a constant 3-4 degrees Celsius below zero.

Photograph by Matthias Heyde

Photograph by Matthias Heyde

New seeds are carried into the tomb, packed in containers each containing a maximum period of 400 seed forms. The containers are sealed by the gene bank which deposits the seeds. Each box comprises up to 400 seed tests, and a seed sample generally consists of around 500 seeds sealed in an airtight aluminium bag.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault has the capacity to store 4.5 million different seed forms, and so it can hold reproductions of all the unique seed forms currently existing in the many gene banks around the world, and will also be able to accommodate new seed forms collected in the future.

The seeds are stored in four-ply sealed envelopes, then placed into plastic tote containers on metal shelving racks. The storage rooms are kept at a

18 AdegC( a

0.4 AdegF ). The low temperature and restricted access to oxygen will ensure low-spirited metabolic activity and defer seed aging.

The permafrost surrounding the facility will help maintain the low temperature of the seeds should the power supply fail.

The seed vault is managed under terms spelled out in a tripartite agreed by the Norwegian government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust( GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center( NordGen ).

The seed vault roles like a safe deposit box in a bank. The bank owns the building and the depositor owns the contents of his or her container. The Government of Norway owns the facility and the depositing genebanks own the seeds they send.

Primary funding for the Trust comes from such organisations as the Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation and from various governments worldwide.

Photograph by Matthias Heyde

In Norway, government-funded construction projects outperforming a certain expenditure must include artwork. The artwork; “Perpetual Repercussion” by Dyveke Sanne adorns the building’s roof and upper faASSade front at the entrance.

The artwork makes the building visible from far off both day and night, utilizing highly reflective stainless steel triangles of various types of sizings. Mixed with refractive elements such as mirrors and prisms, the triangles at the entrance catch and indicate illumination and sunlight. The appearance changes with the time of day as well as the season.

The Crop Trust works in cooperation with over 100 countries worldwide to conserve harvest diversity. In 2008, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was graded no. 6 on Time’s Best Inventions of the Year.


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault Official Website
The Crop Trust
Wikipedia: Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Flickr: Svalbard Globale frA, hvelv

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