Science & Tech

Inside the global seed vault that gets opened if the apocalypse hits

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Should there ever be an apocalyptic situation where the world needed to re-grow its food supply, it has the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to rely on.

Tucked away on Spitsbergen, a remote island in the Arctic Ocean, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault contains duplicates of seeds should anything occur that would eradicate the world’s ability to regrow them.

The secure storage vault safeguards 1.1 million different seed varieties which represent more than 13,000 years of agricultural history.

Now, the Virtual Tour Guides are taking people inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to see what it’s like.

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Using their interactive tour feature, users can click and drag around to see what it’s like on one of the world’s most remote islands and visit the incredible vault.

After entering the thin, metal structure, virtual visitors are taken to a heavy metal door that leads down a tunnel and into several chambers that contain the seeds.

The door to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault Getty Images

Each chamber contains boxes and boxes of seeds that virtual visitors can get a closer look at and explore.

The virtual tour is the first time people can see what’s inside the seed vault remotely.

People can visit the vault in person so long as they are on an organised trip with a tour guide. But it is not open to the public.

An example of a chamber inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, each box contains seeds Getty Images

Spitsbergen is part of the Svalbard archipelago and while it may seem remote, it was considered the most ideal location.

Not only is there a lack of tectonic activity on Spitsbergen but because it’s so cold the Svalbard Global Seek Vault does not have to worry about losing power and being unable to refrigerate the seeds.

An example of seeds being stored in a box Getty Images

The seeds are kept at -18°C (-0.4°F) but even if the island lost all power and equipment failed it would still take two centuries before it warmed to 0°C (32°F).

The vault was first opened in 2008 by the Norwegian government.

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