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2022-02-06 12:35:09

Svalbard: why is it considered to be humanity's hope for salvation

Svalbard: why is it considered to be humanity's hope for salvation

This settlement with one of the harshest climatic conditions is of great importance for the inhabitants of the Earth. It is on the territory of Svalbard that the largest repository of seeds of a wide variety of plant species on the planet is located.

Special Agreement

The island of Spitsbergen is located in the waters of the Arctic Ocean. It was discovered at the end of the XVI century by the navigator Willem Barents, and until the beginning of the XX century this land did not belong to anyone. In 1925, Svalbard ceased to be an international territory and passed into the possession of Norway. However, under a 1920 treaty between 39 countries, any state party could carry out economic activities on the island. 

At the moment, about 3,000 local residents live on the island. Among the settlements there are three Russian settlements, two of which are mothballed - Pyramid and Grumant - and an operating coal mine. Excursion groups of tourists are even sent here. At the same time, 7 national parks are also located on the territory: amazing nature and fascinating northern lights do not leave anyone indifferent.

Modern Noah's Ark

The island was nicknamed Noah's Ark, because here was built the largest repository on the planet with seeds of plants from all over the world. There are such "barns" in other places, but this one is the world's largest. The Spitsbergen seed storage facility goes 120 meters into the permafrost. Among the snowy plains, only a massive door is visible, through which you can get into an amazing world with millions of types of seeds. Initially, the storage is designed to store up to 2 billion samples.

Seeds are stored according to a special system that allows you to keep the samples in excellent condition for more than 1000 years. The reliability of this method lies in the fact that the seeds sealed in special envelopes are inside strong boxes in wrapped bags. If a catastrophe of a global scale ever happens on the planet, then the seeds from the Spitsbergen Seed Vault will completely restore the flora of the Earth and plant almost all the plants studied by man.

A special place

But why did the world repository of plant seeds decide to be founded in a town with a harsh climate in the possessions of permafrost? There are several explanations.

  1. There are no volcanoes on Svalbard and there have never been earthquakes.
  2. The cold climate does not allow bacteria to multiply, which increases the reliability of the storage level of seeds.
  3. The storage corresponds to the latest technology: heavy-duty doors protect against severe cold and possible explosions, in case of a power outage, the premises are adapted to coal heating. At the same time, the Svalbard storage facility is equipped with the latest security systems.

Interestingly, there is another storage on the island, inside of which unique computer data is hidden. The land of Svalbard stores more than 6,000 programs, key Windows and Android codes.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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