The world's impregnable deep-freeze vault aimed at protecting precious seeds from global doom such as war and natural disaster has been breached after extraordinarily warm temperatures sent water gushing into the entrance of the tunnel, the Guardian reported.
The "Global Seed Vault," which is buried in a mountain in the Arctic circle, contains roughly a million packets of seeds, including important food crops.
Soaring temperatures in the region led to melting and heavy rain. This time, the water froze before reaching the seeds, so nothing was damaged. However, the breach did raise doubt in the vault's ability to survive increasingly warm temperatures.
Hege Njaa Aschim, a Norwegian government official, which owns the vault, said, “It was supposed to [operate] without the help of humans, but now we are watching the seed vault 24 hours a day. We must see what we can do to minimize 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?” he added.
As a result of the recently discovered vulnerability, vault managers are taking precautions, including major work to waterproof the 100m-long tunnel as well as digging trenches to channel meltwater away.
“We have to find solutions. It is a big responsibility and we take it very seriously," he said. "We are doing this for the world.”