More than 120 meters into the mountain, sheltered from nature’s temper and man-made disasters, you literally find the seeds of Earth’s plant life.
Far below the frozen ground, in the permafrost only 1300 kilometres (800 miles) from the North Pole, you find what’s sometimes called the most important room in the world. To be precise, Svalbard Global Seed Vault consists of three separate caverns. They hold millions of seeds, of every conceivable kind, from all around the world. They’re stored in small, sealed aluminium bags, each of which contains a few hundred seed samples. These can be put back into the world if a species is lost to war or natural disasters. At Svalbard, they’re safe.
Now you can get a tour inside the facility, thanks to a video that was posted on YouTube earlier this month, and that has been seen more than a million times.
The video comes from the popular Australian-Canadian science communicator Derek Muller. He’s a YouTube and TV personality with over 3.5 million subscribers on his science channel, Veritasium. He also got several hundred thousand views on an earlier video from the same Norwegian archipelago, which gives a tour of the world’s northernmost town – Longyearbyen.
Do you want another cool video from Svalbard now that we’re at it? Then we have an excuse to share this totally awesome clip. Here, Norwegian Stian Aadland shows you how to enjoy your morning coffee up there in the frozen north.
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here, you will find untouched arctic wilderness and unique wildlife in a setting that is both rugged and fragile at the same time.
The very first image from a new European Space Agency satellite shows Norway at dusk – and more images from above.