Hurd's Deep (or Hurd Deep) is a deep underwater valley in the English Channel, north west of the Channel Islands, at position 49 degrees 30 minutes North, 3 degrees 34 minutes West. From marine navigational charts, the maximum depth is 172 metres, and lies to the north of the isle of Alderney. It is most probable that it was named after Captain Thomas Hurd RN. by Admiral Martin White[disambiguation needed] (born at Hayling Island, 1779).
Following the First World War, Hurd's Deep was used by the British Government as a dumping ground for both chemical and conventional munitions. SMS Baden was scuttled there in 1921. Following the Second World War, it was used to dump military equipment, munitions and weaponry left behind by the ousted German invaders of the Channel Islands. Routine dumping of British munitions carried on until 1974.
Late Quaternary Origin
The underwater valley system found on the floor of the eastern English Channel formed from catastrophic flood which was caused by a breaching of a rock dam at the Dover Strait which released a massive pro-glacial lake in the southern North Sea basin. This massive flood scoured the former river systems to form the Hurd Deep in late Quaternary times.
A Pleistocene glacial refugium
During the ice ages when the sea level dropped most of the English Channel was dry land known as Doggerland. Hurd's Deep likely remained as a sea. During the Pleistocene it likely was a glacial refugium.
- 1951: Fears for crew of lost British submarine
- Nuclear dumping leak sparks concern - BBC, 17 January 2002
- Thousands of radioactive waste barrels rusting - Greenpeace, 19 June 2000
- Smith, Alec J. (1985). "A catastrophic origin for the palaeovalley system of the eastern English Channel". Marine Geology 64 (1-2): 65-75. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Gupta, Sanjeev; Collier, Jenny S.; Palmer-Felgate, Andy; Potter, Graeme (2007). "Catastrophic flooding origin of shelf valley systems in the English Channel". Nature 448: 342-345. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Provan, Jim; Bennett, K.D. (2008). "Phylogeographic insights into cryptic glacial refugia". Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23 (10): 564–571.
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