Doomsday Vault

News brief

PHOTO: Mari Tefre/Global Crop Diversity Trust

On 26 February, an underground vault intended to store samples of the world’s seeds in case of a global disaster began accepting deposits. The vault, on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, is designed to hold samples of up to 4.5 million types of seeds for hundreds or even thousands of years. A coal plant powers a refrigerator in the vault that keeps the seeds at about –20 °C, but even if the power should fail, the vault’s temperature will rise only to –3 °C. The eerie green glow at the entrance comes from an art installation made up of 200 optical fibers.

Related Stories