Thursday, December 6, 2007

Doomsday Seed Vault Now Operational

I told you.

Pack your rice.

Itz coming.

Put those non-hybrid seeds someplace safe.

Extrapolate from the implications, think about this news a little bit. You'll know why the most important project on my plate after I finish Sparkgap is my hermetically sealed underground permaculture lab.

Originally I was planning another underground quonset connected to a bird roost below grade, but I've been thinking lately about two or three structures like this, ferrocreted with cement and buried under at least a meter or so of earth. The frame looks like it would be extremely easy to construct and very strong compared with other projects built mostly from scrap. I was thinking of building three domes using this method, the one in the middle the largest, divided into hydroponics (biggest dome), aquaponics (silver perch and freshwater lobsters/shrimp) and the remaining dome connected via a ramp up to a feedyard for chickens, rabbits and possibly a goat. I was running the plan by my significant other last night and she nixed the chickens/rabbits/goat because she was worried the smell and maintenance would be too much during peacetime. We sort of negotiated a compromise where I might put all the machinery in place for it but not actually acquire the livestock and fowl until a few weeks of international tension seemed to be building to a crescendo.

One of the reasons I started to grow keen on these domes is that they can be done in a series of incremental steps and be operational before they are fully completed. For example, as illustrated in the link, your dome can theoretically go into service as soon as you can pull a tarp over it. Pouring a concrete foundation, covering it with rebar and mesh, ferrocreting the shell piecemeal by hand ... all these things can be done kind of haphazardly in small units of work sort of the way I have been completing Sparkgap a couple of days here and there every month.

For example, by the time I get around to whistling for the bobcat to return to my property and backfill the domes with crushed rock, they could be fully set up inside and working - or at least fully stocked and outfitted with the correct hardware.

The aquaculture dome could also be set up with something truly economical like a steel swimming pool with liner, they are under a $100.00 here in Australia for a two meter wide, 1 meter deep pool that could hold an awful lot of fish. Fingerlings, lobsters and shrimp could be in tanks surrounding the central pool in glazed bathtubs. The circular shape of the dome interior would be much better suited to an aquaculture pool than an oblong quonset like Sparkgap.

I will probably begin by building one dome and seeing what is involved. If it works out then I can go ahead and build the entire Permaculture Lab as three connected domes. I'm not sure what the budget will be on the job but I'll bet it would be less than Sparkgap if I can scrap up a big mess of hollow steel bars for the frame and a lot of rebar mesh. Likely less labor intensive as well.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps an "icky" idea but what about insects, grubs and worms?

Easy to farm and a good source of proteïn.

BTW, you have kids right? Wouldnt it be better for their mental health if they had some bunnies or a hamster to play with when they're in the Vault?

-Rzero said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts about the geodesic domes. They are simple to make and assemble. And for the
money, they are remarkably strong.
You don't have to use EMT conduit,
it is simply readily available and

Texas Arcane said..., your minimalist explanation of how to build one of these things was one of the most useful pages I have found on the internet about geodesic domes.

Most pages have five pages for discussion, then when when they get to the construction plans it turns out their dome will cost most than a concrete block room in labor and money when everything is factored in. They also make it sound a lot more complex than it actually is - which is easier to do than explaining something in the smallest number of steps as you have done.

Kudos to you for such a great dome page.

Anonymous said...

Tex, what ideas do have with regard to the initial cover for the dome frame prior to applying concrete - considering that it will remain on the inside of the dome once complete, and is only there to stop the ferro-crete falling through?


Texas Arcane said...

I thought a layer of fine mesh like screen mesh with u-brackets bolted through it to the pipe structure, then on top of that chicken wire with 2" spacing and then rebar mesh over that. Hand mortar this with a good ferrocrete with waterproofing plasticizer. Once done, you could do the interior with a nice polyurethane cloth (cheap) on the inside? The strength of the shell would come from the ferrocrete and rebar mesh when it dried.

Before you ferrocrete the outside I'd want to pour the slab floor to seal the mesh in the slab.

I think it would go:

1. Excavate. Leave a big circular pit at bottom to fit dome slab. Plant at least one drain in the floor of 100mm PVC pipe leading off to the edge.

2. Build frame.

3. Cover frame in mesh, all conduits and openings integrated with this. (Including things like intake pipes, etc.)

4. Pour slab floor to hold frame, mesh and screen all sealed in floor with drain pipe submerged in slab.

5. Ferrocrete outside.

6. Finishing work inside.

It'd have to be strong as fuggeddaboutit when it set. I think the roof would support a meter or more of crushed rock easily. I doubt if there is a stronger kind of arched structure a person can build.

Friend of the whales said...

"Doomsday" Vault Will End Crop Extinction, Expert Says - More info from national geographic

Anonymous said...

PS there are some decent pictures on that link I just posted