RARE images have given a glimpse inside the “Doomsday” vault which holds seeds for all the agriculture the world needs in case of a catastrophic disaster.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located on an Arctic island near Norway, can withstand a nuclear strike and houses more than two billion seeds.
The secure building, which was opened in 2006, aims to preserve the world’s food supply in the face of climate change, war and natural disasters.
It costs £4million and protects up to 4.5million variety of seeds from nearly ever country in the globe.
The seedbank, dug into a frozen mountainside above the town of Longyearbyen, holds duplicate collection of seeds including staples such as wheat and peas.
The seeds in the vault, which are housed free of charge, can only be accessed once the original collections have been lost.
They are stored inside sealed envelopes and placed in plastic tote containers on metal shelves which are then kept at a temperature of -18C.
A limited oxygen supply in the vault coupled with the low temperature stops the seeds from ageing.
In case electricity inside the facility fails the permafrost surrounding it helps to maintain temperatures at a low level.
The incredible pictures were taken by photographer Jim Richardson which show a rare glimpse of the work being taken to protect us in case of an unforeseen disaster.
The vault was started by conservationist Cary Fowler from the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
It’s construction was funded entirely by the Norway government and the charity co-founded by Microsoft boss Bill Gates helps to fund it’s operation costs.