norwegian noah’s ark

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened today on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the remote arctic Svalbard archipelago, about 1120 kms from the North Pole.


Tagged as “Doomsday Seed Vault” and “Modern Day Noah’s Ark,” the seed vault is designed to store duplicates of seeds from seed collections from around the world. Most of these seed collections are in developing countries. If seeds are lost, e.g. as a result of natural disasters, war, or simply lack of resources, the seed collections may be reestablished using seeds from Svalbard. Built to hold up to 4.5 million different types of seeds from around the world, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will act as the ultimate safety net for the world seed collections.


The question “why at such a remote and cold place?” may have come up, and CNN reported that seeds need to be frozen at extreme environment, -20 degrees Celsius, so as not to deteriorate for thousands of years to come. The seed bank is constructed 393 feet inside a sandstone mountain in Svalbard. Spitsbergen was considered ideal due to its lack of tectonic activity and its permafrost, which will aid preservation. The location 130 meters above sea level will ensure that the site remains dry even if the icecaps melt.


While Norway owns the vault and paid USD 9.1-million for its construction, other countries can deposit seeds for free and reserve the right to withdraw them upon need. The seeds are packed in 4-ply packets – as many as 500 in each sample – heat sealed to exclude moisture, and placed on blue and orange metal shelves inside the vaults.

Photos courtesy of Mari Tefre / Svalbard Global Seed Vault; illustration courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust. With additional reports from CBS.


19 Responses to “norwegian noah’s ark”

  1. 1 pepe February 27, 2008 at 5:21 am

    interesting read!
    but i dunno why i felt creepy :)

  2. 2 freshmess February 28, 2008 at 12:13 am

    doomsday much, pepe? hehehe.

  3. 4 dianeca February 28, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Hey, this is a great project. We can’t protect the animals from extinction…well they are probalby saving DNA these days someplace but we can store seeds at very low temperatures so we can produce plants in the future. And without plant life we will never survive. The plants came first, you know.

    Great minds think alike Mark, see my post at
    We are on the same team!!!

  4. 5 freshmess February 29, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Hello power couple! Hehehe. Nice to see that we’re all on the same team. I guess the value of this project lies in its promise of sustainable development, something our children’s children could reap the rewards of. :)

  5. 6 RennyBA February 29, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Hello again Mark! I made a similar post tonight and tagged you.

    Wishing you and Knut a great weekend :-)

  6. 7 Paul February 29, 2008 at 4:23 am

    But it’s a really great idea though – wonder why they didn’t think of it sooner.

  7. 8 Ryeness February 29, 2008 at 6:01 am


    i wish they come up sith something to preserve genes of gorgeous people as well. and those of intelligent people too!

  8. 9 Moja February 29, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Really? there is a place like this there? Wow! People are really concern with their environment..

    Hayy.. Makes wanna leave Manila now.. argh!!!

  9. 10 Moja February 29, 2008 at 7:28 am

    *makes ME wanna leave..

  10. 11 freshmess February 29, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for the link back, Renny!

    You’re right Paul. It could have saved some seed collections destroyed by previous natural calamities had this been put in place earlier.

    I guess that bank would be needing your seedlings, then, Ryeness! Lol.

    Ain’t it sweet, Moja? Norway is one of the few countries who are really aware of and geared for things that may come when it concerns the environment.

  11. 12 Chase Ravndal March 1, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I read about it on VG and some other online Norwegian newspapers. But I heard it before while the construction was ongoing. That is actually a really nice plan and a sort of safety net when doomsday comes if it will come

  12. 13 freshmess March 1, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Hey Chase! Yeah, this was reported before and before we know it, it opened already. I really salute the Norwegian government for building this! And I’m glad to be part of it, since my taxes go to things like this.

  13. 14 Ryeness March 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    asus! wala naman akong sinabing “genes of bored asian fags who collect bags and shoes as if he earns four times of what he actually does.”


  14. 15 Ryeness March 2, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    p.s. i should’ve done this long ago. i just had the time now. linking u up! ;-)

  15. 16 freshmess March 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Hahaha! Come on mamon! And talking of your collection, Ryeness – that I gotta see. Heard you got some Gucci and LV? :) Thanks for the link back babe.

  16. 17 rara March 5, 2008 at 6:01 am

    the name of the facility is creepy thats why. im just wondering kung meron kayang seeds ang kalachuchi at kangkong jan- nakadevelop kaya sila ng kangkong seeds?!

  17. 18 freshmess March 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Hmmm, Svalbard Global Seed Vault doesn’t sound creepy to me. Hehe. It’s possible that they have those in the facility, since part of the first shipment of seedlings to the vault came from the Philippines. So rest assured that you can have your share of kangkong in your sinigang in the future. Thanks for dropping by, rara!

  1. 1 Norway opening Global Seed Vault at Svalbard Trackback on February 29, 2008 at 1:37 am

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