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Global seed vault receiving upgrades after melting permafrost breaches entrance tunnel

23 May 2017

The vault, which is located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen only about 800 miles from the North Pole, recently flooded after abnormally warm winter temperatures caused meltwater to breach the entrance tunnel, according to The Guardian. The seeds inside the vault are meant to produce new breed of food supply in case a doomsday scenario occurred.

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Buried into a hillside on the Norwegian archipelago, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault contains hundreds of thousands of seeds meant to ensure the safety of humanity's food supply in the event of a global disaster. This vault acts as a databank for seeds to protect against the effects of climate change.

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Officials say that water seeped into the access tunnel, but the seeds were not harmed. Now, the group behind its construction is repairing the damage and implementing some improvements to the design. The vault, according to USA Today is capable of storing 4.5 million seed samples and protecting them from many natural disasters, climate change, and wars. The location for the vault was specifically chosen because the area's deep permafrost that surrounds the bunker was believed to create "failsafe" protection against "the challenge of natural or man-made disasters". "And we are now making ditches in the mountain side to prevent melting water and even rain water if it should come back like it did last autumn, and so it will not go further down to the entrance of the tunnel", Aschem adds.

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"It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that", Hege Njaa Aschim, of the Norweigan government, which controls the vault, told The Guardian.

Global seed vault receiving upgrades after melting permafrost breaches entrance tunnel