Seed Vault under the Arctic frost

A “Doomsday vault” even:

The project is intended to provide a failsafe against disaster so that if a seed collection is destroyed in its natural habitat there is an alternative source of supply. Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which is behind the initiative, said that by preserving as many varieties as possible the options open to farmers, scientists and governments were maximised. “The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” he said.seed vault

Many varieties of seed kept in the vault are no longer used commercially but it is possible that they will prove invaluable as world conditions change,.

The facility has been designed to keep seeds safely frozen for centuries and, at 130 metres up, the mountain is high enough to be safe even from catastrophic rises in sea levels. Similarly, amid the worst levels of global warming, in which the permafrost of the Arctic island would start melting, the seeds will be safe for up to 200 years.

One commentor is less than impressed:

How in the hell are we supposed to A) locate the site B) excavate the site in a “doomsday” situation? We’ll be lucky to still have seafaring technology at all, much moreso the capability to man an expedition to a frozen, remote island with unforgiving terrain

Matt, Nashville,

Hint for the Mattly among us: not all doomsday scenarios involve the breakdown of technology. It is quite possible for there to be a wheat “doomsday” or rice “doomsday” which won’t affect modern seafaring technology at all!

So, perhaps, y’know, just because it is remotely possible that this seed vault might not save the day in every conceivable disaster situation, maybe it’s still worth doing anyway?



Categories: environment, technology

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6 replies

  1. not all doomsday scenarios involve the breakdown of technology

    Quite. The most interesting doomsday scenarios involve the triumph of technology over their human slaves.
    This mountain hideout might be handy for the day Skynet becomes self-aware.

  2. Good point. Although my imagination runs more to simply the nations with the most guns holding the rest of the world at bay while a few competing nuclear submarines converge upon the seed vault…
    I can see the outline of the futuristic action film now, can’t you?

  3. Dude. That’s just Ice Station Zebra with plants, and there’s no re-germinating Rock Hudson.
    Put Scarlett Johansson in it, and either of the Gyllenhaals, and you’ve got yourself a green light.

  4. Ooh, ooh. In other Svalbard news, we’ve got scary prehistoric monsters we can add to the screenplay.

    Bastard Norsk – we had the biggest sea reptile until they dug these bones up!

  5. Nicknamed “The Monster”

    Imaginative. </sarcasm>

    You know, I wonder if they’re being encyclopedic with their seed choices, or moralistically vetting the collection? Is the opium poppy going to get a berth, or how about coca? How about those “special” seeds you plant in your spare fridge under a big f’n light?

  6. Surely they’re included under “medicinal” resources?

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