Seed Vault Interior

Seed Vault Interior


The Seed Vault is a secure, state-of-the-art storage facility located in Norway. It's purpose is to protect and preserve a diversity of crop seeds in the event of a global crisis. This paper will discuss its interior design and features.

Inside the Vault there are three chambers. These chambers are kept at low temperatures and each house thousands of different varieties of seeds.

Overview of Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is found inside a mountain on the remote island of Spitsbergen. It's halfway between Norway and the North Pole. The seed storage facility uses permafrost and thick rock to protect the stored seeds from natural and man-made disasters.

The vault is a secure backup for any gene bank in the world. It has over 930,000 types of seeds held by hundreds of governments and institutions in more than 170 countries.

The interior has three chambers. The first chamber is an antechamber to keep out the cold. Man cave 1 has large slides which lead to 35 meter-long tunnels. The final chamber has seed collections from genebanks and preservation equipment like freezers and coolers.


The Seed Vault is created to give a safe spot for long-term storage of crop seed samples. Its insides play a major role in safeguarding samples from natural disasters, climate changes, and other dangers. It's vital to comprehend the design of the Seed Vault to understand how it can secure crop samples.

Let's have a better look at the interior design of the Seed Vault:

Location and construction

A seed vault must be built in a low-lying area with stable geology. It should be far away from any human settlements or infrastructure. Also, no unexpected water flows or hydrogeological features that could cause flooding or nutrient-tinting of incoming groundwater should be present.

Construction must take these variables into account. The vault must remain in an environment with a permanently maintained temperature and humidity level. The entrance is above ground and consists of one large, blast-resistant door. This leads underground to the actual storage facility which is 12 meters below ground level.

To keep the storage area stable and at constant subzero temperature and humidity levels, an elaborate system of insulating materials is used. These materials include sand, gravel and permafrost. This is essential, as it helps keep seeds viable for a long time.

Temperature control

Temperature control is essential for the safe storage of seeds. The seed vault has two systems to protect its contents: refrigeration and thermal insulation.

  • Refrigeration involves two chillers to keep the air-conditioning system at the right level.
  • Thermal insulation works as an external guard, limiting solar radiation and providing extra support. It also stops extreme temperatures from coming into the vault. It helps keep the temperature at 10°C and restricts fluctuations to between 6°C and 15°C.

This, combined with high efficiency fans, conserves energy in the vault's interior.


The seed vault interior design is equipped with security measures. Two air locks, each with a secure door, are operated by Svalbard Global Seed Vault staff from their remote station. Both entrances have independent security systems.

Robust mechanical and electrical systems, consisting of ventilation, lighting, power supply, and fire alarm systems, are also present. Temperature is monitored 24/7 by a computer system and kept at 0°C (+/- 1°C). Safety equipment must always be used when entering certain zones or rooms containing sensitive materials that could be hazardous.


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the biggest secure seed storage facility in the world. It stores millions of seed samples from around the globe. The Vault is built into the Arctic permafrost to provide perfect conditions for seed storage. It preserves the world's seed diversity. Specialised containers and temperature sensors protect the seeds.

Let's see the types of storage used in the Seed Vault:

Sample preparation

To guard the seeds stored in the seed vault, optimal temperature and humidity must be provided. Prior to long-term storage of samples, utmost care must be taken to ensure quality.

Open-pollinated and hybrid seeds should be cleaned first to get rid of dirt, dust, chaff and other remnants. Followed by testing germination rates which indicates genetic diversity. Then, dried and cleaned samples are put in moisture-proof envelopes or tubes. After that, they're tightly sealed in airtight containers. This way, they can stay viable for up to several decades while preserving quality.

Labeling with a barcode system is done for the sample containers. They're placed on pallets and loaded into custom made boxes for the vault. These boxes are equipped with temperature and humidity monitoring systems. These regulate automatically, within acceptable parameters, for storing live materials for a long time without losing quality. This guarantees that backups at the seed vault can be used to restore any seed collections affected by a natural disaster or another external factor.

Labelling and storage

The seeds are encased in four-ply foil packages. They are sealed and heated, then placed in plastic to protect against moisture and air. Labels are included with info on species, institute, and collection date.

The seed vault is secure. It is constantly monitored, physically and digitally. An alarm system is in place to detect any unathorized access and temperature changes. There is an air control system to maintain an optimum oxygen level. Additionally, a climate control system with backup generators is installed in case of natural disaster.

Inside the seed vault, the samples are stored in separate compartments. They require different temperatures, humidity levels, and treatment cycles. Protocols are in place to catalogue the country of origin, collection date, and gene pool composition of each seed. This info is helpful for regeneration efforts.


The Seed Vault is equipped with a special monitoring system. It has sensors on the refrigeration system and in the walls of the main archival chamber. Plus, additional storage areas have their own sensors. All the sensors connect to a control unit. It constantly records temperature and humidity changes.

The stored material is checked for bugs or fungus when it first enters and during staff visits. This ensures the collections stay healthy and viable for long periods.


The Seed Vault is an underground safehouse. It safeguards plant species and culture in case of a global emergency. The Vault's interior requires periodic maintenance. This helps maintain the right temperature and humidity.

Necessary maintenance processes for the Seed Vault are discussed in this section:

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance must not be forgotten regarding a Seed Vault. It is key to ensure that all climate controls work properly and that condensation is wiped right away. Also, check for mold, rust, leaks, or drafts that could endanger the facility's contents.

  • Inspections should be done daily, every 3-6 months.
  • Lubricate openings, dust surfaces, and do a top-to-bottom cleaning every 6-12 months, or when the seed vault operator says so. This will keep the sensitive materials safe.
  • Additionally, check power sources regularly to stop them from failing. These checks may involve watching cleanliness and measuring voltage with approved instrumentation from a qualified technician.

Long-term preservation

The Seed Vault's purpose is to keep seeds viable for long periods. The temperature must stay under 8°C (46°F) and humidity can't go above 92%. To keep these conditions, airtight sealing materials, low-heat LED lighting, submersible pumps for dehumidification and a constant supply of cold air are key. Infrared sensors monitor 24/7. Layers of back-up power keep it cool in winter when temperatures dip below -40°C (-40°F).

Other measures like

  • recirculated coolant systems
  • energy efficient climate control
  • secure fixtures

all help keep the genetic resources viable for centuries.


The Svalbard Seed Vault: an architectural marvel! It is a remarkable representation of what human engineering can do. This vault is built to last and safeguard the world's food sources.

Now, let us conclude this article.

Summary of the Seed Vault's purpose and design

The Seed Vault was created to conserve crop diversity in plants. It's located 120 meters up a mountain on the island of Spitsbergen, Norway. The freezing temperatures and insulation from elements like snow and flooding make this gene bank ideal for preserving seeds for centuries.

Steel frames, with airtight packages filled with seeds, line the passageways and provide room and familiarity when accessing stored samples. New varieties are being added, such as wheat and barley. This helps farmers mitigate climate change effects like drought.

Preserving seed diversity is vital. It helps breed new varieties that are resistant to climate change and preserve heirloom varieties that are essential in our global food system.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Seed Vault Interior?

A Seed Vault Interior is a space designed to store seeds in conditions that ensure their long-term preservation for future use.

2. What is the purpose of a Seed Vault Interior?

The purpose of a Seed Vault Interior is to safeguard plant genetic diversity and ensure food security by protecting valuable seed resources from damage, loss or extinction.

3. How is the Seed Vault Interior maintained?

The Seed Vault Interior is maintained at a constant temperature of -18°C ensuring the preservation of the seed samples. The air inside the facility is dry and moisture-free preventing the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungus.

4. How many types of seeds can be stored in the Seed Vault Interior?

The Seed Vault Interior is capable of storing all types of seeds and has a capacity to hold up to 4.5 million seed samples.

5. Who manages the Seed Vault Interior?

The Seed Vault Interior is managed by the Norwegian government, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The Global Crop Diversity Trust provides financial support for the facility’s operation and maintenance.

6. How can seed depositors access their seeds stored in the Seed Vault Interior?

Seed depositors can access their seeds stored in the Seed Vault Interior by contacting the facility's administrators and submitting a withdrawal request. The sample is then retrieved and sent to the depositor’s location.

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