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'Doomsday' Seed Bank Opens In The Arctic

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened earlier this week. The vault, located in Norway and funded by the Norwegian government, is the world's insurance policy on a host of threats that could destroy important crops, from global warming and war, to natural disasters like drought, flood and wildfire. The media have nicknamed it the "doomsday vault." The vault will initially contain 10 million seeds (250,000 varieties of plants) from countries around the globe.According to the Press Association, "All that can be seen of the vault outside the mountain is a concrete wedge, inside which a (410-foot) tunnel goes deep into the hillside, ending in three vaults with airlocked doors, keypad entry, stone and plastic-impregnated concrete walls." The air in the vault has been cooled to between -18C and -20C, but Norwegian meteorologists have stated that even without power, the vaults would still be below freezing 200 years from now under the worst climate change scenario.More information on the vault is here, and a gallery of images can be viewed here.

Brad Yost is a senior producer for LPM. Email Brad at byost@lpm.org.

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