Norway is starting construction on a massive subterranean complex on the Arctic island of Svalbard to store seeds of all known crops in the world. More than 100 countries have signed on to the project, which is designed to reestablish plants in the wake of an apocalyptic manmade or natural attack. Norway’s Agriculture Minister Terje Riis-Johansen called the vault a “Noah’s Ark on Svalbard.”

BBC: Work begins on Arctic seed vault

Dug into a frozen mountainside on the island of Svalbard, it is hoped the project will safeguard crop diversity in the event of a global catastrophe.

More than 100 countries have backed the vault, which will store seeds, packaged in foil, at sub-zero temperatures.

Prime Ministers from five nations helped lay the cornerstone on Monday.

Premiers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland attended the ceremony near the town of Longyearbyen, in Norway’s remote Svalbard Islands, roughly 1,000 km (620 miles) from the North Pole.

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