Millions of seed varieties to be secured in new Arctic vault

Construction kicked off yesterday on a high-security vault to be dug into a frozen mountainside on a remote Norwegian island in the Arctic, to protect that most precious of commodities: seeds. The vault will be sized to hold 3 million seed varieties, the source of every known crop on the planet. (Did you know there are 100,000 varieties of rice? Neither did we.) Nicknamed the “doomsday vault,” the cavern will provide a starting place for whoever’s left after a global catastrophe (or, less apocalyptically, to replenish lost seed stocks after conflicts, accidents, or problems at other seed banks). It will be lined with thick concrete, refrigerated, and guarded by steel doors controlled remotely from Sweden. Says Cary Fowler of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which will manage the site, “we will have the biological foundation for all of agriculture, which is really saying something.” Our descendents, living in a Mad-Maxian post-apocalyptic hellscape, will no doubt be appreciative.