Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Noah's vault

On the Norwegian islands of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) a vault has been constructed with the purpose to store seeds to ensure biological diversity. Blasted out of icy rock 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, the air-locked vaults would stay frozen for 200 years even in the worst-case scenario of global warming and if mechanical refrigeration were to fail, officials said.

The vault is constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. At the opening ceremony on February 27th 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed in the vault, which has capacity to store around 2 billion seeds. This initiative is more important now than ever, with the overhanging threat of global warming and chnages to ecosystems as a result of it. The vault will act as a bank allowing countries to use their deposited seeds and also serve as a "backup" for local seed banks.

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