''Doomsday'' Seed Vault Opens Near North Pole

''Doomsday'' Seed Vault Opens Near North Pole
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After a subzero round of Scandinavian folk songs on February 26, 2008, guests and workers at the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Bank are among the first to enter its 390-foot-long (120-meter-long) tunnel into a permanently frozen Norwegian mountain.

At the end of the corridor are three chambers where seed samples from around the world will be stored for protection against disasters. Cooled to -0.04 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius), the seeds could be preserved for a thousand years.

"What it's going to do is put an end to extinction [of] agricultural crops," Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, told National Geographic News in December 2007.

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—Photograph by Mari Tefre/Global Crop Diversity Trust
 
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