Did You Know There’s a Doomsday Seed Vault in the Arctic? (Video)

Ever wondered what would happen to our food supply in the event of an asteroid impact or nuclear war?

No? Well that’s okay because someone else already has, and prepared us all for it.

Located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, around 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and deep inside a permafrost mountain, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is home to a dizzying variety of seeds.

It’s designed to store up to 4.5 million different types of food seeds from all over the world.

At first glance, the building looks like a concrete bunker, with the entrance barely exposed and the remainder buried deep inside the mountain.

The entrance look like something out of a science fiction novel. (Image: Jessica Kneipp)

The entrance looks like something out of a science fiction novel. (Image: Jessica Kneipp)

On closer look, you can see the roof and entrance, bejewelled with highly reflective stainless steel, mirrors, and prism.

The design, care of Norwegian artist Dyveke Sanne, was made to highlight the important qualities of the arctic light.

Local polar bears have even been spotted watching the amazing blue-green effects.

Illuminated art installation above the entrance to the vault. (Image: NordGen/Dag Terje Filip Endresen)

Illuminated art installation above the entrance to the vault. (Image: NordGen/Dag Terje Filip Endresen)

Svalbard was considered an ideal place for the Doomsday Seed Vault because it lacks tectonic activity and has permafrost, which aids preservation. It is over 4 feet above sea level, so will keep dry even if the ice caps melt.

And if the power fails, it will take weeks before the -0.5° F facility rises to the bedrock temperature of 27° F. The seeds can be preserved for hundreds of years, and even thousands for some species.

Who would’ve thought something that sounds like it’s from a science fiction novel could keep the world’s crop diversity safe for the future?

Arctic places have always had a special pull for me. Growing up in the Australian tropics, it wasn’t til I was well into my teens that I saw snow for the first time.

So the day my husband said: “Want to visit Svalbard, the northernmost populated place in the world, where the polar bears outnumber the humans?” I was in!

Polar bears are found all over Svalbard. (Image: Jessica Kneipp)

Polar bears are found all over Svalbard. (Image: Jessica Kneipp)

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