It probably sounds like something out of a William Gibson novel, but it in case you weren’t across it: there is a stronghold deep in the Arctic Circle called the Global Seed Vault in which seeds for humanity’s most precious crops are stored in deep freeze.
The point is obviously to ensure that we still have a food supply even if the world undergoes some kind of monstrous cataclysm and we end up living in a Mad Max hellworld. You’d have to trek it pretty far north to get your seeds, though.
Anyway: the GSV, uh, kinda flooded. It really isn’t supposed to flood, but it did.
According to Hege Njaa Aschim, a representative from the Norwegian government (who own the vault) the unseasonably high temperatures caused the permafrost around the facility to melt, flooding the entrance to the tunnel.
“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,” she told the Guardian. Thankfully, the seeds themselves weren’t damaged – this time. Now people are worried that it won’t be so lucky next time, or the time after that, if global warming causes more melting of permafrost.
“It was supposed to [operate] without the help of humans, but now we are watching the seed vault 24 hours a day,” Aschim said. “We must see what we can do to minimise all the risks and make sure the seed bank can take care of itself.”
Vault managers – God, it sounds like something out of Fallout – are now working on preventative measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again. They’re waterproofing the tunnel and building trenches to ensure meltwater can run off.
“We have to find solutions. It is a big responsibility and we take it very seriously,” said Aschim. “We are doing this for the world.”
Uh, good luck.
Source: The Guardian.
Photo: Getty Images.