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Doomsday Seed Vault Threatened by Flood Due to Permafrost Melt, Seeds Remain 'Safe and Sound'

May 22, 2017 10:45 AM EDT
Inside the Svalbard Seed Vault
Melted ice apparently made it inside the doomsday seed vault in the Arctic. Although the seeds are safe for now, experts are worried that it won't be that way in the future if climate change worsens.
(Photo : Veritasium/YouTube Screenshot)

Alarming news reports surfaced last Friday, May 19, when it was reported that the doomsday seed vault was flooded. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault houses almost a million seeds for future propagation in case of a catastrophe. The doomsday vault is owned by the Norwegian government.

Reports say that water breached the Svalbard Global Seed Vault's tunnel despite its "fail-safe" feature. The seeds inside the vault are meant to produce new breed of food supply in case a doomsday scenario occurred.

Seeds Safe (For Now)

The doomsday vault is currently buried in the Arctic mountainside about 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle, according to Gizmodo. The problem is that climate change is slowly melting the ice in the Arctic, posing a threat to the doomsday seed vault. The warmer temperature caused the permafrost to melt.

According to the Washington Post, the water did sipped through the threshold but the seeds remained safe and sound. However, experts say that the seeds might still be threatened during future permafrost melt.

"A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier when you went in," Statsbygg spokeswoman Hege Njaa Aschim said in an interview with The Guardian.

The group responsible is now taking precautionary measures to protect the seeds in the doomsday vault. The outer tunnel is being improved to prevent future damages.

Could a Vault Save Humanity?

The breach has now questioned the stability of the doomsday vault meant to survive and serve as humanity's lifeline. If it can indeed stand the test of time and risks of climate change.

 "It was supposed to [operate] without the help of humans, but now we are watching the seed vault 24 hours a day," Aschim added in the same interview. "We must see what we can do to minimize all the risks and make sure the seed bank can take care of itself."

The extreme weather and heat last 2016 was blamed for the permafrost melt. The experts are now more concerned if the problem will still escalate. This means, whether or not climate change will worsen or will it be dealt with as soon as possible?

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