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Doomsday vault flooded by melting permafrost


Posted on Saturday, 20 May, 2017 | Comment icon 25 comments

Temperatures outside have risen far quicker than anticipated. Image Credit: NordGen / Johan Backman
Norway's Svalbard Global Seed Vault has been breached by water flooding in through the entrance.
The vault, which was built in 2008 around 810 miles from the North Pole, was designed to serve as an underground depository where food crop seeds could be preserved in case of a global disaster.

Ironically however, the vault itself has ended up being compromised by the effects of global warming thanks to soaring temperatures which have caused the permafrost outside to melt.

"It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that," said government spokeswoman Hege Njaa Aschim. "A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier when you went in."

Fortunately the water did not reach the seeds, but the fact that this happened at all is worrying, especially given that the vault was designed to withstand rising temperatures.

"It was supposed to [operate] without the help of humans, but now we are watching the seed vault 24 hours a day," said Aschim.

Source: Telegraph | Comments (25)

Tags: Svalbard, Norway, Vault

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #16 Posted by WoIverine on 21 May, 2017, 5:49
Well, that sucks.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Orphalesion on 21 May, 2017, 21:46
TBH I always had difficulty believing in the Doomsday Vault's helpfulness in case of a true, devastating disaster that would make it necessary. I mean I probably should read into planned projections for its use more than I have, but how helpful would a difficult to reach building full of seeds really be in a scenario that destroys all food sources on Earth? If the climate was so devastated or the land so irradiated that all crops were destroyed on a global level...then in my limited understanding of the situation, a vault full of seeds in the Arctic would not save anybody. Some people who are... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by WoIverine on 21 May, 2017, 22:42
The people who would be around to restart everything would more than likely have bunkers of some kind and enough stored food to get them through until new crops grow from the seeds. Probably be quite a few non irradiated places if only one or two major continents took the brunt of a nuclear war. If it was a meteor, or something global though, then we're all screwed anyway, so it probably wouldn't matter one way or the other.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Orphalesion on 22 May, 2017, 9:21
Eh... so the people come out of their shelters and then farm the useless irradiated soil? As for getting rid of the irradiated topsoil, look at the scene in "The Day After" where the farmers point out the problems associated with that. And if we are talking parts of the world that aren't or are less affected by a nuclear war then there's two things: 1) they'd probably have seeds and crops that are likewise unaffected making a trip to Spitsbergen unnecessary and 2) How are a bunch of (let's say) New Zealanders supposed to make it through the nuclear hellscape of Eurasia/North America (because ... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by WoIverine on 22 May, 2017, 12:46
"Probably be quite a few non irradiated places if only one or two major continents took the brunt of a nuclear war" I can't feasibly see South America, Australia, or Africa being nuked. Lot of land mass there to grow crops.
Comment icon #21 Posted by docyabut2 on 22 May, 2017, 22:24
Not Norway ,but in case of a nuclear war, starting any where http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/110223-nuclear-war-winter-global-warming-environment-science-climate-change/
Comment icon #22 Posted by Frank Merton on 22 May, 2017, 23:38
It is unfortunate to find people opining about scientific programs that to them in their lack of full information seem of no use but are in fact very important. The idea of having these seeds in case of nuclear disaster is a good one simply because little soil would be "irradiated" as you say, and most would be fine. That, however, is secondary to the issue of having available varieties of seeds for hybridizing in case of a disaster with one particular species. Say the wheat we grow now is hit by a disastrous fungus. Having older varieties of wheat where there probably are some that are ... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by taniwha on 23 May, 2017, 4:12
Here is a 360 degree interactive tour from outside the entrance way of the seed vault, through the tunnels and into the storage facility itself. https://www.croptrust.org/our-work/svalbard-global-seed-vault/interactive-visit/
Comment icon #24 Posted by Orphalesion on 23 May, 2017, 7:09
If you read my messages, you might find that I have said that I can see it be helpful in case of crop failure due to diseases and that I was asking questions, not "opining".
Comment icon #25 Posted by DONTEATUS on 9 June, 2017, 23:39
Soggey seed`s "YUCK"


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