Tucked away in the Norwegian mountains, the Svalbard Seed Vault is designed to store some of the world's most vital seeds in the event all the earth’s crops are wiped out.
The area, which was designed as a 'perma-freezer' and is located close to the North Pole, is also able to retain a chilly temperature of -4C.
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The vault is Earth’s best chance of re-establishing food supplies in the event of an apocalypse
And the facility is thought to be the Earth’s best chance of re-establishing food supplies in the event of an apocalypse.
But the secure vault was ‘flooded’ this week, triggering widespread panic the seemingly-impregnable fortress was destroyed after less than a decade of activity.
DEIMOS – TWITTER
Satellite images showed the damage done by the flood
The Svalbard Vault stores some of the world's most vital seeds
Permafrost meltwater poured into the entrance of the seed bank on May 19 – and Earth observation company Deimos Imaging released pictures of the damage captured by its Deimos-2 satellite.
Experts claimed the incident was a result of global warming – one of the very instances the vault was designed to find solutions to.
Internal damage to the structure is minimal and thankfully the so-called flood failed to affect any of the seeds.
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A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier
Spokesman Hege Njaa Aschim
But a spokeswoman for Statsbygg – a group who advise the Norwegian government which owns the vault – cautioned that it may only be a matter of time before global warming could damage the facility.
Hege Njaa Aschim told the Guardian: “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.”
The secure seed vault was ‘flooded’ this week
She added that officials were now observing the seed vault around the clock to “minimise all the risks and make sure the seed bank can take care of itself.”
“The question is whether this is just happening now, or will it escalate?”
In a statement a few days later, the group announced they were now taking precautionary measures to make improvements to the outer tunnel to prevent future occurrences.
The Doomsday Vault has been running for less than a decade
It read: “The seeds in the seed vault have never been threatened and will remain safe during implementation of the measures.”
Nestled 1,300 kilometres above sea-level, it cost £6 million to build and is made-up of a series of tunnels, leading to store-rooms where around one million seed samples are kept.
Described as a 'mini United Nations' the vaults contain enormous shelves, where countries' seeds are stored alongside one another.