Preserving seeds for 10,000 years: New doomsday vault opens

The entrance to the 'doomsday' vault | Image: National Geographic

I don’t plan to be around 10,000 years in the future, but what would I do if I woke up in the year 12,008 and wanted something to eat? It would probably be a good idea to go to Norway.

- Svalbard Archipelago

Why? A new facility has just opened on a remote Svalbard island which aims to collect millions of seeds, preserving the genetic diversity of our crops in case humanity has a disaster like nuclear war or extreme global warming. Even if there was a major earthquake nearby or a direct hit by a nuclear missile, the new storage facility has been built so strongly that it would be able to withstand the destruction. (Click here for images of the doomsday vault)

Within a few years, the target is to have a few hundred samples of each of 4.5 million different varieties of crops, coming to a grand total of 2 billion individual seeds. So far only 100 million seeds have been added, but even they weighed a massive 10 tons, meaning that when the facility is full it will contain hundreds of tons of seeds.

Shelves inside the seed vault | Image: CNN As if it wasn’t cold enough in Svalbard already – it never goes above freezing point – special air conditioning systems have been added to reduce the temperature to a frozen 0F (-18C). The low temperature is essential if the seeds are to last for thousands of years, and fortunately the ice around the seed bank won’t be melting anytime soon – it is located deep inside a remote frozen mountain.


So when I wake up in 10,000 years, I’ll be able to eat whatever I want – maize, wheat, rice… I just hope I’ll manage to figure out how to get there…


4 Responses

  1. maybe you could include ‘Monsanto’ as one of your tags for this post? check ‘the rest of the story’ . . . .

  2. Riverbird: Interesting, but I’m afraid I don’t usually believe in these conspiracy theories. Still an interesting read though – thanks. 🙂

  3. agreed, re: conspiracy theories. however, i do thin it is interesting to look at who is funding the project . . . .

  4. Now deaths are coming from the gas cloud that is coming out of the volcano

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